Yokota soccer teams return from long layoffs with wins
Despite long layoffs, Yokota’s soccer teams picked up where they left off at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. Jason Stroup scored twice against his former team as the Panthers boys upped their record to 8-0 with an 8-2 victory over Matthew C. Perry on Friday, and Breyana Anderson scored two goals as the Yokota girls edged the Samurai 2-1.
“Today was our first time outside in two weeks. The girls played hard, but it was one of those days,” Yokota girls coach Matt Whipple said after his team improved to 6-0-1. “They were rusty. They just couldn’t finish. It was an ugly win, but I’ll take it.”
Yokota’s boys had been out of action for 20 days, and the girls for the past 15. The Panthers girls were off the weekend before spring vacation, and were forced indoors to practice while the boys had two matches washed out by torrential rain.
Teams throughout the Pacific faced similarly long down periods, thanks to the spring hiatus. Teams went without games anywhere from two to three weeks.
“Everybody’s got the same excuse,” Perry girls coach Chris Anderson said.
With that long a break, teams tend to “lose the conditioning that we’d developed” before the spring holiday, Panthers boys coach Tim Pujol said. Of Stroup’s performance, Pujol said: “He played very well. Kind of like a homecoming of sorts.”
Stroup’s former coach, Mark Lange, also noticed.
“I’m going to lose 20 pounds and play” in Saturday’s rematch, “and we’re going to mark Stroup the whole game so he doesn’t score again,” Lange said, only half-jokingly.
Anderson’s charges played a “horrible” first half, he said, after which they settled down and won the second half. “We came out flat,” he said. “But tomorrow’s another day.”
Robert D. Edgren’s boys came out “lethargically,” coach Jose Pumarejo said, in Friday’s 4-1 home loss to Zama American at Misawa Air Base. Spring break had “everything to do with it,” he said.
On the other hand, victorious Trojans coach Ron Geist felt his team hadn’t lost a step.
“We came back and picked up where we left off,” he said, adding that it’s a welcome difference from last season, when the team slumped after spring break. “We’re coming back stronger this year.”
A slow start and foul weather Friday at Korea’s Yongsan Garrison didn’t seem to faze Seoul American’s boys, who won their fifth straight match with late second-half goals by Daniel Kim and James Nutter to edge Yongsan International-Seoul.
“You’re always concerned” about a lengthy break, coach Swink Patterson said. His Falcons came off the break by downing Taejon Christian International 4-2 on Wednesday and won again Friday. “I was quite impressed with the match against TCIS and it continued today.”
Seoul American’s girls piled on nine goals against YIS-Seoul in a match that was scotched after 31 minutes due to lightning and thunder in the Yongsan area.
Down south at Daegu’s Camp Walker, Taegu American girls coach Ed Thompson faced a different concern — how to replace regular goalkeeper Ashley Little, who was pulled from the team temporarily by her parents in an effort to improve her grades.
Thompson inserted Shawnquinisha Simpson, who played for the Warriors softball team last season, into the crease and the junior netminder responded by blanking Seoul International 2-0. Sarah Eades and Nikki Callisto scored for Taegu.
“She has some height, so we put her in there,” Thompson said. “I was afraid that would be our weak point, but she came through.”