Ramstein gets better of Kaiserslautern twice
Stars and Stripes April 22, 2023
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The Ramstein Royals were electric for Friday evening’s home match against Kaiserslautern.
Not only were they facing their crosstown rivals, but it also was senior night. On top of that, the boys soccer program was playing its first match under the lights, according to coach Dominik Ludes.
“I’ve never played under the lights before,” Ramstein senior midfielder Jaden Guerra said. “It’s a cool feeling.”
It took until the second half to turn on the lights, but the Royals were ready for the spotlight from the get-go. The Royals jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 6-1 win over the Raiders at Ramstein High School.
The Royals (4-1, 2-1) created goals from various situations. They pounced on mistakes from their opponents, like when junior Mathias Bailey got the ball in the box off a failed clearance in the fourth minute to open the scoring.
Ramstein got a goal via a cross from the wing when sophomore Andrew Soto found Keiran Goodall to make it 3-0 in the 24th minute, one of the freshman’s two goals. The other came in the 40th minute as he cut inside and curled in a shot. The Royals also took advantage of set pieces, as Guerra headed home Goodall’s corner.
Goodall also connected for an assist on Bailey’s and Ramstein’s second goal. In the sixth minute, his through ball put Bailey on net, and the junior shot past Kaiserslautern goalkeeper William Herrmann.
“We practice set plays, so it’s nice to score off a set play,” Ludes said. “We practice our attacks with our wingers, so it’s nice to see us score goals in the game when we do those drills in practice.”
Although Goodall contributed to four goals, Ludes pointed to Guerra as the main catalyst for the day. Not known as a goal scorer, Guerra added a second in the 44th minute that gave the Royals a 6-0 advantage over the Raiders (1-3, 1-3).
“That’s probably the best game I’ve seen him play on senior night,” Ludes said of Guerra. “To me, he was the man of the match. The magnitude of the game, senior night, this kid being with the program for four years, usually doesn’t score a lot … to score two goals is huge.”
Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, didn’t go without a fight and eventually broke through. In the 65th minute, Alexander Valencia headed in a cross past Royal goalkeeper Favian Pierre-Louis.
Raider coach Enrique John praised his team’s no-quit attitude and ability to adjust at halftime.
“I think we had a very good second half,” John said. “I have to compliment my players. They’re young. They didn’t give up.”
After a loss to Wiesbaden two weeks ago put them at 1-1, the Royals are riding a three-match winning streak with less than a month before the European championships.
While the team is riding high right now, Guerra said the squad has some growing left before it tries to defend its title.
“I think we’re in a good spot right now, coming off a three-game winning streak,” Guerra said. “But there’s always room for improvement. There’s a lot of things we can work on. I’m excited for the tournament.”
The Royals girls soccer team has a mantra that involves being better than its last match every match.
A weekend in England that included a draw to Lakenheath tested that philosophy, but Ramstein returned to form against Kaiserslautern on Friday evening, winning 7-0 at home.
“We always strive to do better than we did for the last time,” Ramstein captain Jill Buckley said. “So, we wanted to push ourselves to do better (vs. Kaiserslautern).”
One of the ways the Royals (3-0-1, 2-0-1) improved over the previous weekend was on defense. Ramstein’s defense kept the Raiders (1-2-1, 1-2-1) away from goalkeeper Liberty Snyder for the most part. Kaiserslautern did have a chance in the 47th minute when captain Lena Herrmann and Ulua Villalobos had shots deep in the box. Villalobos had her shot blocked and Herrmann’s was cleared off the line.
This allowed the Royals to dominate on the offensive end, as they took a four-goal lead into halftime thanks to two from Julia Adkins, one from Kyndra Brown and chip goal from Grace Berck. Isabel Fischer made it 5-0 in the 53rd minute from a tight angle, Berck added a second chipped goal in the 71st minute and Olivia Davis scored with the last kick of the match.
“K-Town is a very good team, a very aggressive opponent,” Buckley said. “I think the whole team held it together very well, and we worked together as a team. We had amazing saves from the goalie, defense held their line very well, the midfield made some amazing plays and our forwards got the shots off.”
For Kaiserslautern, it wasn’t the result the team wanted, but coach Sue Fitzpatrick said her team was adjusting to a new, more defensive formation. Overall, she liked the Raiders’ effort.
“The girls are beating themselves up about it, but they played well,” Fitzpatrick said. “I told them that this isn’t the tournament. I’m said I’m glad we had the game that we had.”