Ho'okele Staff | Jun 22, 2012
The 692nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (692 ISRG) took a 3-1 lead into halftime and made it stand to beat the 352nd Network Warfare Squadron (352 NWS) June 16 in a Blue Division intramural soccer matchup at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
With the victory, the 692 ISRG leapfrogged over the 352 NWS to claim third place with a record of 9-4-1 and 28 points, while the 352 dropped to fourth with a mark of 8-3-3 and 27 points.
“This was insanely crucial,” said 692 ISRG co-captain Senior Airman Randy Kelso. “When we sent out our e-mails and texts, we pointed out that if we win, we get third, but if we lose, we go to fifth. So please, everybody, show up and play as hard as you can. We did just that, so everything went well.”
At first, things didn’t go as hoped for the 692 as the 352NWS matched their opponent kick for kick before taking the first lead of the game on goal off the head of Senior Airman Chris Voigt.
The scoring play was set up by Airman 1st Class John Barlow, who blasted a kick from the corner that was passed toward the goal by team-mate Tech. Sgt. Jason Maldonado before Voigt
connected on a head shot into the net.
“It was just a team effort,” said Voigt about the goal. “We had Barlow run in. They thought it was a corner ball, he hit it back and Maldonado headed it, and I ran in and just took advantage of the goalie not paying attention.”
The lead didn’t last long. Moments later, the 692 tied the score on a straightaway shot by 1st Lt. Leon Hontz at the midway point of the first half.
Then on the next trip down the field, the 692 went ahead for good on a shot by Kelso, who first kicked the ball off the goal’s left upright before booting it back into the goal.
Hontz got the assist on the goal after finding Kelso on the left side of the field with an accurate touch pass from the right.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the 692 until just before halftime, when Airman 1st Class Lothar Reck scored the team’s third and final goal of the game.
After getting off to a slow start, better passing helped open up the team’s offense, according to Kelso.
“Our passes were more on key,” Kelso explained. “Leon would slow the pace of the game, so we could get open and a lot of give-and-goes, things like that.”
While the 692 ISRG was picking up their offense, the team also began asserting itself on the defensive side.
Defensive back Senior Airman Thomas Reiter anchored a tough 692 secondary, which shut down the 352 attack after allowing just one goal.
Following the first goal of the game, the 692 held the 352′s offense to only one more shot on goal in the first half and two more in the second.
“We started communicating a little better and paid more attention to what they were doing that was getting past us,” Reiter said. “Their center striker was really good at orchestrating their passing. We had to pay more attention to that.”
With nine wins in their back pocket, the players on the 692 ISRG are beginning to believe that the team is peaking at the right time.
Reiter said that team cohesiveness is a big reason for its success.
“We’ve had a couple of years with the same group of guys and girls,” he pointed out. “We get along pretty good, so when things aren’t going real well, we support one another.”
Kelso said that besides camaraderie, the players are getting excited about the playoffs and a big win over a tough team like the 352 will go a long way towards building their confidence.
“This picks our spirits up,” he said. “People are getting off work and taking their Saturday to come out in the middle of the day. They know that it’s important and it’s awesome that they can get out here.”