Soccer tourney notes: Pusan girls overcome ailments
IWAKUNI MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan — Pusan American striker Brieanna Carroll didn’t expect things to go like this at the Class A Far East High School Girls Soccer Tournament.
On the first day of competition, Carroll aggravated a quadriceps injury, just one of a handful of aches and pains plaguing the Lady Panthers.
It got so bad that Pusan opted to forfeit its first playoff game Tuesday against Matthew C. Perry. Pusan coach Gary Canner said that even a few hours rest and one fewer contest would benefit his club.
The move worked out OK since Pusan advanced to the championship round, where it was to play Korea rival Osan American on Wednesday.
Besides the injury to Carroll, a handful of Lady Panthers had colds, and midfielder Mycal Horton was sidelined for the remainder of the tournament with an ankle injury.
Carroll managed to play part of the second half during a 2-1 win over Taegu American. She then increased her Pacific-best goals total to 26 with a hat trick in a 4-0 victory over Perry in the loser’s bracket final.
“She’s not even 50 percent,” Canner said.
Zama undaunted by first loss
While the Class A tournaments entered the playoff phase, teams in the Class AA showdowns on Okinawa and Camp Zama, Japan, were still tangling in round-robin games Tuesday, peeking ahead to the upcoming elimination battles.
Zama American (14-1) suffered its first loss on Tuesday, falling 4-3 to the Kubasaki junior varsity squad.
Despite the loss, senior sweeper Ryota Nishiyori still classifies round-robin matches as glorified “practice games.”
“It’s better if you win. You can get a first-round bye and more rest in the playoffs. It’s not the end of the world if you lose. In the playoffs, it is the end of the world,” he said, adding that Tuesday’s setback was “a wakeup call. Now, we’ll come out and play like there’s no tomorrow.”
The Class A boys showdown between Perry and Pusan provided a reunion for Perry coach Mark Lange and Osan coach Sung-ho Plourde, former high school teammates in the early 1980s in Tampa, Fla.
Lange graduated from Robinson High in 1981 and Plourde a year later, and the two hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.
They have kept in touch, though.
Plourde, who’s been in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific system for 11 years, talked Lange into joining DODDS for the current school year. Lange now teaches language arts at Perry.
“He was a short little left winger with great skill,” Lange recalled of Plourde, who remembered Lange as the “wild keeper.”
Apparently whenever Lange played in net and a penalty kick was awarded, he would stomp around the area, snorting and growling before the referee set up the shot.