NEWS | March 19, 2013

Soccer season opener ends in thriller

By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

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As the intramural basketball season wraps up at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, athletes have begun trading in their basketball shoes and lacing up their soccer cleats.

The 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Soccer team managed to squeak by the 437th Aerial Port Squadron squad in a 4 - 2 shootout win in JB Charleston's 2013 intramural soccer season opener March 14, 2013, as the sun set on the field.

Both teams came out of the gates rusty. The first goal of the season didn't come until the 7th minute of the first half, when Mohammed Rezk from AMXS stole an errant pass from the APS goalie and scored.

It wasn't long before APS answered back with a goal of their own in the 11th minute.

Jesse Ritz from APS, then gave his team the lead with a goal of his own less than a minute later. (APS 2 - AMXS 1)

"Last year we went undefeated, but this year we have a lot of new players so this first game was more of a learning experience," said Nolan Jones, 437th APS soccer coach. "We are more prepared and even more excited to go out and win our next game."

AMXS answered with a goal at the 14th minute to tie the game 2 to 2.

But just seconds later, Ritz' effective dribbling allowed him to weave through the APS defenders to score a goal from more than 15-yards out, erasing the tie. The teams went into half time with the score APS 3 and AMXS 2.

Both offenses didn't allow their opponent to get comfortable on defense as they exchanged goals.

"APS has a really good team that can move the ball around the field efficiently," said Andrew Gravett, 437th AMXS soccer coach.

Both teams offenses started getting hot with three goals scored early in the second half. APS once again jumped in front and was able to break a 4 - 4 tie by scoring a goal at the 20th minute. (APS 5 - AMXS 4)

With a little more than four minutes left in the game, AMXS' Brian Garcia-Velilla, was able to find the net and notch the score at 5-5, sending the game into a penalty shootout. The team scoring the most goals out of five penalty shots would win the game.

After exchanging goals on the first two attempts, AMXS went on to score their third goal while managing to block an APS goal (AMXS 3 goals - APS 2 goals). AMXS made their fourth attempt forcing APS' next goal to be a "must-make."

Brandon Ferris, AMXS goalie, blocked the final attempt, clinching his team's first win of the season.

"Ferris came up huge in our victory today," said Gravett. "He played goalie on last-minute notice and he made the game-winning save in the shootout. Our team showed a lot of resiliency in staying in the game all the way to the end and not faltering in the shootout."

Soccer games are scheduled to be played on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the soccer fields near the JB Charleston - Air Base Youth Center.

Anyone interested in JB Charleston - Air Base's Intramural Sports program should contact their unit sports representative or contact the Air Base Fitness Center at 963-3347. Those interested in the Weapons Station Intramural Sports program can call 764-4118.