8th IS keeps 15th MXG off the scoreboard to win

Staff Sgt. Bacchus Jackson drives a shot past a defender.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The 8th Intelligence Squadron (8 IS) got one goal in the first half and picked up another after half-time to overcome a tough 15th Maintenance Group (15 MXG) by a score of 2-0 on March 3 in a Red Division intramural soccer matchup at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win is the second in a row for the 8 IS, who remains in a tie for first place in the Red Division with a record of 2-0, while the 15 MXG dropped its opening game for a 0-1 mark.

“It was a little luck on our side, plus our keeper played pretty well too,” said team captain Sgt. Jorge Nunez. “He shut them down, but our defense is pretty solid too.”

With only minutes remaining in the first half, the 8 IS got on a run and managed to break up the scoreless game with a shot for goal that made it 1-0.

The goal started with Nunez, who picked up his head and spotted teammate Staff Sgt. Brook Bradford running toward an open lane down the middle of the field.

Nunez instinctively shot a perfect pass to Bradford, who just got enough of the ball to boot it into the goal.

“Our attacking center (Nunez) received the goal at the top of the 18 and went 25 yards out,” Bradford said. “I saw the left side was wide open, so I let him know as I ran in. I looked for the lane right behind the defender and we were synced up. He knew exactly what I was thinking and he just played a perfect ball right in there. I waited for the right time and just kicked it into the corner of the goal. The defender got a foot on it, but still it went to the corner of goal and it just worked out.”

Although the play happened so quickly, Nunez said that after years of playing soccer he just knew where to look and what to do.

“There is like four or five defenders in the box. They’re going to make moves. I anticipate that and I passed it to an open space,” Nunez said about his assist. “Luckily, Brad is one of those guys who can run easily into a diagonal slot, where I can just pass it and slide it to him.”

The single goal held up through halftime, but later in the second half the 8 IS got its second goal of the game to take a 2-0 advantage.

Once again, Nunez was front and center on the score, only this time he was the player booting in the goal.

For much of the second half, both teams were keeping the ball in the middle of the field and away from the goal.

On one occasion, Nunez penetrated beyond the halfway mark and advanced it near the top of the box.

After keeping the ball away from a couple of defenders, Nunez turned toward the goal and launched a beautiful kick that placed the ball just under the top of the crossbar and just beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.

“I wasn’t even thinking,” Nunez said. “I was like, shield the ball from the defender and lose him. It was a blur to me. I saw the keeper off his line and I went for it.”

Although the season is only into its second week, Nunez said that the team has played well because the players have been getting together twice each week to practice.

He said the sessions help the players learn the game and get a feel for one another in game situations.

Nunez said one of the major keys to the team’s success this season would be its ability to stay healthy and keep their players on the field.

If they do that, Nunez said he expects that the 8 IS would be able to put up a challenge against anyone in the Red Division.

“There are some good teams, but we’re definitely going to put up a pretty good fight,” he said. “We’re not going to be beaten easily.”

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Category: Sports