Teo Ficarelli converted a goalkeeper deflection 43 seconds into the game for the only goal the International School of Brussels would need Friday in a 2-0 victory over defending European Division III champion AFNORTH in Brunssum, Netherlands.
"The AFNORTH defense was quickly educated to the finesse of the ISB offense by a fortunate rebound in the first minute," AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship wrote Saturday in an e-mail report of the game. "However, the lucky rebound would not have happened without a great through pass and crossing pass to the forward. The superior ISB ball movement caused the AFNORTH defense to shift out of position and directly led to the quick score."
Cedric Touthsen, off a feed from All-Europe midfielder Jambaar Stills, added an insurance goal in the second half, but by then the outcome was in little doubt because of the performance of the backline for ISB (2-0-1 overall, 1-0-1 Region I).
"The sweeper for ISB, Jupei Mitsuhashi, played a wonderful game and limited AFNORTH (1-1-1 overall, 1-1 Region I) to three shots on goal. … He kept his defense covering backside space and marked our attack with teammates throughout the contest."
Blankenship also gave a nod to his defense.
"(All-European) Tobias Christmann, Aaron Black and Brock Blankenship of AFNORTH were the only reason the score was not 10-0," he wrote. "They did a wonderful job recovering from the early mistake by a new defensive teammate and played a tremendous 70 minutes under pressure as ISB flooded through midfield."
In girls soccer games of note:
AFNORTH 3, ISB 0: On Friday at Brunssum, second-half goals by Ashley Hancock, Stephanie Seitz and Jamie Strobel consigned the defending European Division I girls to their second straight defeat.
The three scores came off 13 second-half shots taken by AFNORTH (2-1 overall, 2-1 Region I). Lady Lions’ assistant coach Christopher Booth credited the flurry to the work of AFNORTH’s midfield.
"Jillian Barthel dominated the center midfield," Booth wrote Saturday in an e-mail, "consistently thwarting the ISB attack and providing the outlet pass to begin (AFNORTH’s) attack."
He added that left fullback Ashley Owens led a defense that called on keeper Katelyn Spencer to make just one save against ISB (1-2 overall, 0-2 Region I)
Bitburg 3, Kaiserslautern 0: On Friday at Kaiserslautern, the Lady Barons unleashed 30 shots at Kaiserslautern. Three of them, off the feet of Aisha Montgomery, Kristin Robinson and Tori Trottier, found the net.
"Our girls came together as a group," coach Rachel Boylan said by telephone on Saturday after her team had evened its overall and Region II record at 1-1. "They played phenomenally."
Kaiserslautern fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in Region II.