Coast Guard hangs on to defeat NIOC Hawaii

Lt. Cmdr. Cal Robbins meets the ball with his shoulders to keep the action going. Robbins scored one goal in the game to help Coast Guard defeat NIOC.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Coast Guard Avionics Electrical Technician 2nd Class Aldo Albarello and goalkeeper Nikki Forsberg, a military family member, handed Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii its first loss of the season with two goals.

The Coast Guard won with a score of 4-3 on July 14 in a Summer Soccer League game at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Playing in its second game of the season, the Coast Guard picked up its first win after opening up the season with a tie, while NIOC’s record is now 1-1.

“Luckily, we were never down,” Albarello said.

“We were always up and when it was 3-2, one of our guys had a really nice goal to put us up 4-2. So we never had to shift our game plan. ”

In the first half, Albarello literally got the team started on a good foot. Being at the right place and right time, he followed up on a missed shot to put the ball into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.

“Before the game, we discussed a set play, where if we had a throw-in, we were going to have one guy go the post and one guy go to the back,” he revealed.

“We threw it to the back post, the guy headed it back to the striker, he got a touch on it and laid it right in front of me and I just put it to the back of the net. It was the way we drew it up. It couldn’t have turned out better.”

Hungry for more, Albarello was right in the middle of the action once again, as he popped in his second goal of the game to give the Coast Guard a 2-0 lead.

“That was important,” said Albarello about taking a 2-0 lead. “(NIOC) came back and fought really hard. Every goal counts.”

Later in the first half, NIOC came back to cut the lead down to one, as Jordan Abraham, a military family member, took a great pass off the foot of Lt. Donny George and pushed the ball in without a challenge to make it 2-1.

However, the Coast Guard came back just before halftime to score one more time, when Lt. Cmdr. Cal Robbins picked up a goal for a 3-1 lead at the break.

While the Coast Guard’s offense was running as smooth as it could, NIOC was struggling near the goal, as Coast Guard goalkeeper Forsberg did every things he could to keep NIOC from scoring.

“Nikki played really well,” Albarello said. “She save(d) us back there. I think she’s the MVP every game.”

In the second half, just when you thought that the Coast Guard’s lead might be safe, NIOC got back into the game, when Senior Airman Matthew Gessner shot in a goal that put NIOC within one point of the opposing team for the second time in the game.

Instead of allowing NIOC to tie, the Coast Guard stood tall and put the game away for good, when Avionics Electrical Technician 1st Class Brennen Bridgeford scored the team’s fourth goal of the game. Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 3rd Class Craig Francis scored the third and final goal for NIOC.

While the game was only the second of the season, the win over a top team like NIOC only proves that the Coast Guard should be able to hold its own against any team in the league.

“We want to win the whole thing,” Albarello said. “We have a really good group of people. Everyone gets along really well, we have good team chemistry and as long as we can get everyone to show up, as long as we have numbers, I think that we can compete with anybody.”

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Category: Sports