Hawaii wins second straight Marine Forces soccer title
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Defense deserted defending champion Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Friday’s title match of the Marine Forces Pacific Regional Soccer Tournament.
In its absence, strikers John Barros-Varela and Andrew Urey helped Hawaii win its third championship in five years and second in a row.
Barros-Varela scored three goals, and Urey scored twice and assisted on Barros-Varela’s second goal as Hawaii defeated a spirited 3rd Force Service Support Group team from Okinawa 7-5.
“Everybody has a bad day,” Hawaii coach Gerry Panetta said. “Today was a bad day for the defense, but the offense made the difference.”
It was a far cry from Monday’s opening round-robin contest, when Barros-Varela scored twice and led Hawaii to a 6-0 shutout of 3rd Force.
“It was close,” Panetta said. “What our defense could not do, our offense made up for.”
What Hawaii’s defense failed to do was shut down an inspired 3rd Force, which came out blazing, getting a penalty-kick goal from Brandon Bolt and a goal off a rebound from Jonathan Alzante in the first 11 minutes.
Hawaii bounced back. Barros-Varela scored first, converting Bob Thurston’s direct kick, then tied it thanks to Urey’s through pass from the right in the 26th minute. Urey banged a rebound past 3rd Force goalkeeper Wilson Gomez a minute later and Hawaii didn’t trail again.
“I kept saying, we gotta score,” Barros-Varela said. “We had to do something. We knew we were a better team than they were. It was just a matter of time.”
Peters blamed Hawaii’s goal-scoring flurry on “indecision and sitting back, not being aggressive on the ball inside the box.”
Third Force was far from finished. Lindsley Denis converted one of three Doug Walker assists in the 40th minute. Urey promptly scooped up a loose ball in front to make it 4-3 Hawaii at halftime, but Denis tied it 4-4, putting in a rebound off Walker’s corner kick in the 56th minute.
Five minutes later, Barros-Varela fielded a Mario Curiel cross from the right side and gave Hawaii the lead for good.
“He’s one of our greatest players,” Panetta said of Barros-Varela. “He’s got a golden boot. He is so talented. But it takes Urey to get him the ball. He has one of the fastest set of feet I’ve ever seen. He’s more a feeder than a scorer.”
Neither, however, were eligible for the All-Marine tryout camp Oct. 11-31 at San Diego, because of commitments. “It's too bad,” Panetta said. “But the mission comes first.”