Aviano boys, Sigonella girls collect soccer wins
By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 22, 2016
AVIANO, Italy – Just about everything from Friday’s soccer doubleheader between the Sigonella Jaguars and host Aviano Saints was counter-intuitive.
The boys game was much quicker paced than the girls contest, but the girls took almost twice as many shots. The Jaguar boys fielded only 13 players, but instead of trying to conserve energy with few available players to sub, they pushed the pace.
So it probably wasn’t too surprising that both losing coaches thought their teams had a real shot at winning their games – even though both scores wouldn’t indicate that.
Hayden Roers scored three times as the Aviano boys earned a 4-0 triumph in a contest that went back-and-forth so speedily and frequently that fan whiplash was a possibility.
“I think we took it to them,” Sigonella coach Brian Jones said. “The ball was closer to their goal for much of the game. We’re going to buy all the guys dinner tonight, because the coaches are so proud of them.”
The Jaguar girls emerged with a 4-1 victory, thanks in part to three costly mistakes by the Saints that led directly to goals.
“You take those away and it’s 1-1,” Aviano coach Louis Lucidi said. “But that’s the way it goes.”
Aviano entered the contest 0-3, including a loss to Naples before spring break when Aviano coach Ian Birch felt the team ran out of gas.
“We worked on our fitness the last two weeks, because our fitness failed us against Naples,” he said.
That worked out well, because the Jaguars came out running at full speed.
“If we had played deliberately, they would have just passed the ball around us,” Jones said. “They’re a very skilled team. I think we surprised them a bit.”
But it was the Saints who struck first. Sigonella goalkeeper Winston Sappenfield came charging out to contest a breakaway and – after a deflection – Aviano’s Logan Hinchcliff found himself with an empty net and converted. It wasn’t long after that Sappenfield was faced with another challenge. Roers, on a breakaway, kicked the ball past him and it was 2-0.
The game got more physical in the second half and Aviano goalkeeper Joseph Rivera, splitting duties with Tyrell Adolpho, made a couple nice saves after colliding with multiple Sigonella attackers while defending his goal.
Roers struck again after a long run up the right side midway through the second half. He added his final goal after Sappenfield made two athletic saves to stop Lorenzo King’s penalty kick and a second shot after a ricochet. Roers beat the rest of the field to the ball after the second save and booted it into the top of the net.
Aviano took the first six shots of the contest, but found itself trailing 1-0 after one of them went into its own goal and the other five were stopped by Sigonella goalkeeper Ashley Adkins, who placed herself perfectly each time.
It was 2-0 after Violender Doke took a crossing pass from Caitlin Newman-Sanders from the left side of the field and booted the ball into the right side of the net. The Saints were called for a hand ball moments later, resulting in a free kick that Tamara Rodriguez converted. Newman-Sanders, a senior leader, had several hard shots on goal that went awry during the game. But it was a changeup of sorts that went slower toward the Aviano goal – bouncing over the arm of the Aviano keeper on the way – and made it into the net, giving the Jaguars a 4-0 lead.
Aviano’s Elyse Slabaugh put her team on the board in the second half, but the Saints couldn’t get closer.