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Midweek blues: Things learned, observed in Pacific high school spring sports Week 2.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer hopes he has enough left in the tank for the stretch run to May:

It’s fairly clear from Wednesday’s season-opening matches that the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Five-Cities Division boys soccer race features three distinct groups of teams:

-- The haves: Seoul American, which returned most every key component it needed to, including front men David Voelker and Andrew Clark and keeper Devyn Williams; and Taejon Christian International, with its influx of youth including Paul Bin, J.J. Lee and Gil Jang.

-- The have-nots, particularly Seoul Foreign and Yongsan International-Seoul, which appear to be in various states of rebuilding, while Osan American and Daegu High continue to search for the keys to exiting the league’s lower rungs.

The one-sided outcomes of Wednesday’s matches offered a hint. Voelker and Simon Nutter each scored twice as the Falcons, who normally have their hands full with the former two-time Far East Division II champion Guardians, blew out YIS-Seoul 6-0. Not the welcome-back to KAIAC that former and current Guardians coach Nilton Resende envisioned, I’m sure. And the flying start that Falcons coach Steve Boyd had hoped for.

Then, there was TCIS’ 9-0 whipping of Osan. Bin netted four goals and Lee three in their Dragons debuts. They’re each underclassmen, as is Gil Jang, which bodes well for the TCIS coaching troika of Benjamin Erny, Brent Frazier and Daniel Murphy.

That’s not to say that the Guardians and the Cougars didn’t play hard; each of their adversaries said they fought hard and played hard right to the end. It was simply a case of the Falcons and Dragons having far more weapons in their arsenal and produced the right results.

And that’s not to say the verdicts are final on all teams. We’re.just.getting.started. Still, observers say this is not your older brother’s KAIAC Division I, which was so competitive the last two years. Even lowly Daegu and Osan showed me a lot in the league tournament last April 27-28 at Gyeonggi  Suwon International School. They were the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds. They sure didn’t play like it.

Jury is still out on International Christian-Uijongbu, which is in its first year in KAIAC’s premier division. We’ll see how the Eagles perform this weekend when their slate opens.

The girls side, meanwhile, appears to be a tad closer, if the Osan at TCIS match is any indicator. Scoreless through the first 78 minutes, the Cougars enjoyed the breakthrough on Andrea Carandang’s solo tally; Fay Vido picked up the assist.

And Hannah Nelson, in her final season in Falcons Navy blue and white, celebrated her final season opener by netting a hat trick as the Falcons matched the boys success, blanking the Guardians 3-0; Jessie Gamez had two assists.
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How long can Matthew C. Perry keep up this run of success that’s now in its fifth year for boys and seventh for girls?

These Samurai teams used to be “the cones that everybody else ran around,” said Mark Lange, who’s in his 10th year with the program and has overseen its rise from doormat to domination. The boys have two stars on their Samurai FC jersey crest and the girls one, along with six combined Far East Division II tournament runner-up finishes. You can read more on Friday in Stripes’ Pacific soccer season preview.
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Congratulations to the second member of Yokota’s “Killer B’s” football backfield to sign a national  letter of intent to play college football.  Donavan Ball, with 728 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the 11-0 Panthers who won their second successive Far East Division I title, has committed to play for University of Dubuque, an NCAA Division III school in Iowa. He’ll be just down the road from Stanley Speed, the team’s quarterback who last month signed a national letter of intent to play for NAIA Briar Cliff (Iowa). More details after Sunday’s Tomodachi Bowl, in which Ball and his teammates will suit up one last time. And you can read more about the Tomodachi Bowl in our weekend preview in Friday’s editions.

 

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Ornauer on AFN

 

Stars and Stripes reporter Dave Ornauer talks about the Pacific sports scene on AFN Radio. (Click on right arrow to play file.)

 

Sept. 12: Dave Ornauer highlights Nile C. Kinnick's win over Zama, 30-0, during high school football last week, discusses other games throughout the Pacific.

Aug. 29: High school football is back and Dave talks about the prospects of DODDS teams in Japan.

May 30: Recapping ASIJ's and Zama's Far East baseball championships that capped the Pacific high school sports school year.