Ho'okele Staff | May 26, 2012
The 17th Operational Weather Squadron (17 OWS) gained sole possession of first place in the soccer Gold Division by capturing their eighth victory of the season with a 3-1 win May 19 over USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The win, coupled with a Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) “A” team bye, jettisoned the 17 OWS into the top spot with a record of 8-0-1 for 25 points, while the Paul Hamilton dropped to 3-5-2.
“We did all right,” said OWS head coach, retired Master Sgt. Jerry Dolan. “We fell asleep a couple of times with their (Paul Hamilton) athleticism. I’ve watched this team before, so I knew that they were very athletic and they did a great job – especially for playing us short. I’m happy.”
Paul Hamilton started off the game with one player shy of a full starting lineup, but, due to their quickness, the team was able to hang in with the 17 OWS until midway through the first half.
Only minutes to go before halftime, the 17 OWS finally cracked the Paul Hamilton’s tough defense when Staff Sgt. Andres Aponte took a pass from Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dan Hicks and booted in a straightaway shot into the net for the first goal of the game.
“He (Hicks) gave me a good through ball,” Aponte said about his goal. “I took a quick shot, like coach Dolan has been telling us, and I was able to make it into the corner.”
The shot seemed to awaken the 17 OWS as the team began taking it to the goal with vigor.
Four more shots on goal came up empty for the 17 OWS before the team put away another ball on a crisp pass from Senior Airman John Steigerwald to 1st Lt. David Moreno, who poked in a goal with a perfectly timed header for a 2-0 lead at halftime.
“He (Steigerwald) sent it right into the center,” Moreno recalled. “So all I had to do was get in front of the defender and head it in. It wasn’t even that big of a header – just touch it and off to go over the goalie.”
In the first half, the 17 OWS outkicked Paul Hamilton by a margin of 8-0 and continued their onslaught in the opening minutes of the second half.
After two kicks on goal, the 17 OWS made good on their third attempt when Ashley Dolan, the coach’s daughter, made a clean pass to Moreno out on the right wing.
Moreno beat the Paul Hamilton goalkeeper to the ball, and then placed a shot to the middle of the goal for a 3-0 advantage.
“Ashley did a beautiful job of holding on until I made it to the outside,” Moreno pointed out. “All I had to do was make sure that he (goal-keeper) wasn’t going to get to the ball, so slap touch and it went in.”
Paul Hamilton responded to Moreno’s second goal of the game with a goal of their own, when Chief Electrician’s Mate Anthony Cousins kicked in a score on a straightaway shot down the middle.
However, the 17 OWS clamped down on defense and held Paul Hamilton to only one kick on goal the rest of the way to preserve the victory.
“Our defense can play well. That’s kind of our consistency,” Dolan noted.
Although the win put the 17 OWS ahead of the pack in the Gold Division by two points, Dolan said the lead won’t change the way his team plays.
“It doesn’t feel any different,” said Dolan about the view from the top. “I don’t really look at that kind of stuff. We’re moving forward as a team. We got a couple of new players that have come into the unit, so now we’ll change our goals and objectives to blend them into our team. I kind of look more at that. The record will take care of itself.”
No matter what the future promises, Dolan said that as long as the team plays to their fullest potential, he’ll be satisfied.
“There’s a lot of skills and talent out there, and the fact that we’re undefeated has nothing to do with us,” Dolan said. “God’s got a plan and whatever is going to play is going to play. If nothing else happens, my guys will come out and give 110 percent. If I get 110 percent, I’ll shake everybody’s hand and say, ‘Thank you very much. It’s been a great season.’”