Vilseck boys rally to salvage split with Hohenfels
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 29, 2014
VILSECK, Germany – Vilseck’s Malachi Alston may want to reconsider which foot he shoots with for the rest of the season.
The young soccer star is technically right footed, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching his Falcons take on the visiting Hohenfels Tigers on Saturday. Alston hit a pinpoint accurate shot off his left foot into the corner of the net with minutes to spare, pulling the Falcons even with the Tigers, 2-2.
Minutes later, his teammate and one of the Falcon’s captains, Ben Miser caught the Tigers goalkeeper creeping up and lofted what ended up being the game winning score over his head into a virtually unguarded net. It was a thrilling victory for the Falcons, as they never held the lead until the closing minutes of the game.
“We just wanted to win,” Miser said. “We definitely have a lot of work to do, but our conditioning is pretty good. They got tired and started making mistakes and we were able to take advantage of that.”
Hohenfels owned the first half, with Jacob Nantz scoring both of his team’s points on the day and making several more shots on goal. He and teammate Alton Day – who was double covered through the entire game in an attempt to contain his explosive ability – harangued the Vilseck goalkeeper Edward Allen all game.
Allen was a wall in the second half, as was the rest of the Vilseck defense. Pierre Elysee, who scored on a penalty kick in the second half, credited the always-boisterous coach John Sabala for the come-from-behind victory.
“It was a rough game, a lot of back and forth,” Elysee said. “But we never lost steam and it seemed like they did. That was because coach was keeping us focused.”
The Lady Tigers faired a bit better, as they staved off an attempted comeback from the Lady Falcons, winning their match 4-3.
Hohenfels co-captain Hannah Watkins was the star of that show, officially scoring two goals and booting nine out of the 19 total shots on goal. Dollie Harrison and Shelby Atkinson each scored a goal for the Tigers and the four points was too much for the Lady Falcons to overcome, despite a fierce second half from Amelia Tugman, who scored two goals in the last 30 minutes.
If it wasn’t for Watkins’ highlight reel-worthy day, Tugman would have been the MVP, as she almost single-handedly brought her team back into contention, tying the game up 3-3. But Watkins’s go ahead score in the waning minutes of the game put the Lady Tigers back on top to stay. As captain, Watkins said her personal achievements were nothing compared to the team pulling together.
“Everybody has bad days and their good days, some days we just bond as a team,” Watkins said. “I think today we really played as a team. Some days we don’t, but today really stands out.”