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Tyler Lewis, center, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany beating the Ansbach Cougars 7-0 mercy rule (12-0). Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game.
Tyler Lewis, center, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany beating the Ansbach Cougars 7-0 mercy rule (12-0). Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Tyler Lewis, center, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany beating the Ansbach Cougars 7-0 mercy rule (12-0). Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game.
Tyler Lewis, center, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany beating the Ansbach Cougars 7-0 mercy rule (12-0). Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Alison Rittenhouse of Vilseck brings the ball down the field Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Lady Falcons held on to a 3-2 opening-day win against the Ansbach Cougars.
Alison Rittenhouse of Vilseck brings the ball down the field Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Lady Falcons held on to a 3-2 opening-day win against the Ansbach Cougars. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Tyler Lewis, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany, beating the Ansbach Cougars 12-0. Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game.
Tyler Lewis, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, led the Vilseck Falcons to their first win of the season Saturday in Ansbach, Germany, beating the Ansbach Cougars 12-0. Lewis had five goals and three assists in the game. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Joshua Drummond of Vilseck takes the ball around the Ansbach defense Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Vilseck Falcons captured their first win of the season 12-0. Drummond had a goal and an assist in the game.
Joshua Drummond of Vilseck takes the ball around the Ansbach defense Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Vilseck Falcons captured their first win of the season 12-0. Drummond had a goal and an assist in the game. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Marcella Rodriguez of Vilseck chases a loose ball Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Lady Falcons held on to a 3-2 opening-day win against the Ansbach Cougars.
Marcella Rodriguez of Vilseck chases a loose ball Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Lady Falcons held on to a 3-2 opening-day win against the Ansbach Cougars. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)
Sage Thornbrugh of Vilseck takes the ball around the Ansbach defense Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Vilseck Falcons captured their first win of the season with a 12-0 victory. Thornbrugh had four goals and three assists for the Falcons.
Sage Thornbrugh of Vilseck takes the ball around the Ansbach defense Saturday in Ansbach, Germany. The Vilseck Falcons captured their first win of the season with a 12-0 victory. Thornbrugh had four goals and three assists for the Falcons. (Dan Blottenberger/Stars and Stripes)

A picture in this article has corrected

ANSBACH, Germany – It took Vilseck until the second half to get a ball by Ansbach goalkeeper Alyssa Solis in the team’s season opener Saturday.

But the Falcons didn’t give up any early ones either and eventually got three goals and prevailed 3-2 over the Cougars.

Solis kept the Cougars in the game by making six first half saves and stopping 13 before the final whistle blew.

Falcons midfielder Sarianna Jones tallied the game’s first goal minutes into the second half, drilling a pass from Katie Cooper by Solis.

“I learned last year to take my time with my shots – that’s what I did,” Jones said.

Minutes later, Solis came out to field a ball in the box only to mishandle it. The ball bounced around in front of the goal before an Ansbach defender kicked it in by mistake, giving the Falcons a two-goal lead.

Ansbach would not go quietly as Jaykha Smith passed a ball into the penalty area where Christina Paniagua awaited and her goal was her team’s first of the season.

Jones then scored her second goal on a breakaway and Vilseck was up 3-1.

Ansbach’s Lauren Finley proved the game wasn’t over as she sent a shot rocketing off Vilseck goalkeeper Ricca Arnalz. Arnalz knocked the ball away, but Jasmine Rodriguez was on the far post and slid the ball past Arnalz.

Neither team scored again, though, and the Falcons won.

“It felt amazing,” Jones said of her two goals. She admitted her team was off to slow start in the first half and her coach agreed.

“We struggled initially, but for the most part we played really well – the first half was terrible,” coach Mark Stewart said. “The second half we came alive, the girls understood that playing the ball simple to each other is a lot better than sending the ball over the top.”

In the boys action there was nothing slow about the start of the Falcons season as the Division I team rolled to a 12-0 victory over the Cougars of Division II. The game entered mercy rule territory after a seven-goal differential, but the teams kept playing.

Tyler Lewis, an All-European transfer from Bamberg, ignited the Falcons offense with a first-half hat-trick. He scored two more in the second half and added three assists.

“In practice I’ve noticed that we actually do have some talent,” Lewis said. “People say Vilseck is good, they just can’t get it together – I think we have gotten it together quickly this season.”

Teammate and fellow forward Sage Thornburgh scored four goals for the Falcons and also had three assists. Vilseck controlled possession for most of the game and was dominant in the middle of the field. All-European goalkeeper Jesse Partee only touched the ball three times – recording a save on a direct kick from outside the 18-yard box that was Ansbach’s only potential goal.

Falcons Coach John Sabala said his game plan of loading up the offense worked well, as Vilseck put five strikers upfront. He also credited Nathaniel Strauss and Mark Bussell for transition and control of the midfield – keeping the ball on the Ansbach side of the field.

blottenbergerd@estripes.osd.mil

CorrectionMarcella Rodriguez was misidentified in a picture caption in an earlier version of this article.

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