Favorites starting to assert themselves
Division I powerhouses Naples, Ramstein and Stuttgart swept through the final weekend of DODEA-Europe girls and boys soccer with an impressive collection of shutouts and lopsided victories.
The wins send the three schools into spring break with considerable momentum, which they'll take into the season's stretch run when play resumes the weekend of April 22. The tournament is set for May 18-21 in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Naples handles Italian rival: At Aviano, the visiting Wildcats swept a girls and boys doubleheader from the Division II Saints.
The Naples girls cruised 5-0 behind a diverse offense that netted goals from Micayla Feltner, Shiloh Houseworth, Kaethe Rose and Jill Thurston along with an Aviano own goal. The win improves the Wildcats to 3-0 on the season, with all of the team's wins coming in shutouts and by a combined margin of 18 goals.
The boys game was more dramatic as the Saints played the Wildcats to a stalemate through the first half before Naples scored two second-half goals for a 3-1 victory. Jin Pak, David Morgan and Drew Arel found the net for Naples while Lorenzo King notched Aviano's score.
Naples hosts American Overseas School of Rome on April 22. A week later, the Wildcats join German divisional rivals Stuttgart and Vilseck in Vicenza for a consequential large-school soccer gathering.
Stuttgart usurps Kaiserslautern's momentum: At Stuttgart, the Panthers cast a shadow on the Raiders' early-season optimism with a pair of wins, 7-1 in the girls game and 4-2 on the boys side.
The defending European champion Stuttgart girls picked up their first win of the spring after battling archrival Ramstein to a 2-2 tie a week prior. Alexa Smith led Saturday's blowout with three goals and two assists while Lexington McLellan added a pair of goals and an assist.
The Panther boys improved to 2-0, meanwhile, as they completed a KMC sweep when coupled with last weekend's 3-0 defeat of defending European champion Ramstein. Zac Simanski, Faouzi Diarrassouba and Dan Bacskai scored and a Raider own goal aided the cause, offsetting a pair of penalty kicks by Kaiserslautern striker Alexander Dexter.
The sweep is a setback for Kaiserslautern, which opened its season last weekend by dominating Lakenheath and Bitburg. The Raiders have a chance to correct course before spring break, however, as they host Wiesbaden on Thursday.
Ramstein blanks Vilseck: At Vilseck, the Royals posted twin shutouts of the host Falcons. The boys won 2-0 while the girls cruised 8-0.
The defending champion boys scored a pair of second-half goals to snap a scoreless tie and improve their season record to 2-1. Dante Lapitan and Emmanuel DeGuzman scored and Nick Meza and Cole Khrosrovani assisted to finally overwhelm a solid 12-save effort by Vilseck keeper Timothy Simmons.
Kendall Spohr continued her prolific season for the Ramstein girls with a three-goal effort to lead the Royal rout. Haley Deome tacked on a goal and two assists in the victory, which kept the team undefeated through three games.
Ansbach posts Division III sweep: At Baumholder, new small-school contender Ansbach earned a pair of wins over Division III stalwart Baumholder.
The Ansbach girls scored three unanswered goals before halftime en route to a 3-1 win as Angelica Colom made 12 saves in goal to keep the Bucs at bay. The Cougar boys won 4-1 while pulling away after halftime with a pair of unanswered goals.