One worry confronting Suzette Lopez at the start of the season was replacing the powerful left foot of Courtney Beall, who’d scored 26 goals last year before transferring over the winter to North Carolina.
Sophomore Ani Erhart has given Lopez, the first-year Matthew C. Perry girls soccer head coach, reason to be far less anxious about it.
Erhart scored the match’s lone goal in the first half, assisted by freshman Bobbi Hill, and the Samurai continued their hot start, improving to 8-0 by blanking Yokota 1-0 at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, in the season opener for the Panthers.
Most of the Samurai’s wins had come against Division II-equivalent Western Japan Athletic Association opposition. This was their first against a DODDS Japan Division I team, which had Lopez pleased.
“It was really a test,” she said. “It was a special game.”
Erhart is the Samurai’s tallest player at 6 feet, and her game resembles that of Beall. So, Lopez put her in Beall’s old spot, on the left wing, and the results have been good for Perry: Eight goals so far, to go with the 10 scored by Hill, who also has seven assists.
“She’s very aggressive. We will get a lot of goals from her,” Lopez said, adding that Hill and veteran Sasha Shibazaki did a good job of controlling things in the middle. “They were beautiful in the center; it was really pretty to see.”
While the Samurai remained unbeaten, the same couldn’t be said for Seoul American’s boys after Friday’s battle of unbeaten Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Blue Division teams went to Seoul Foreign 3-1.
It was closer than the score indicated, Falcons coach Steve Boyd said; it was 2-1 until the closing minutes, when the Crusaders’ Kai Summers converted a penalty kick to seal it. Francesco Luschari and Eugene Bang each scored for SFS; HoKyung Adams got his fifth goal for the Falcons.
“Tough one,” Boyd said. “We have a lot left to work on. Hopefully, the kids will take this to heart, learn from our mistakes and move on.”
Edgren diamond teams derailed by blizzard
A broken door on one of two traveling buses used by Robert D. Edgren’s sports team forced the bus to return, with the baseball and softball teams in tow, to Misawa Air Base and delayed the teams’ trip to Yokota.
But before the bus could depart again, the teams were stuck at home by as much as 15 inches of snow, which fell overnight Thursday into Friday.
That left Yokota without its two baseball and softball games against Edgren, whom the Panthers were to host. E.J. King plays Yokota softball this weekend; baseball has no games at all, Yokota athletics director Tim Pujol said.
Edgren’s boys soccer team also did not make its scheduled trip to play at Nile C. Kinnick, but not due to the snow; the team had too few players to travel, Kinnick coach Robert Tiffany said.