Ho'okele Staff | Mar 17, 2017
Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz
Sports Editor, Ho‘okele
While some teams keep a steady eye towards the standings from the very beginning, other squads just play their game and let the rankings take care of themselves.
With a perfect mark of 3-0 after their win over Hawaii FC on March 11 at Quick Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, players on USS Halsey (DDG 97) are taking it one game at a time.
“We really don’t keep track of the standings this early in the season,” Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Dale Brooks said. “We figured we were going to be in for it today, but…”
Brooks scored two goals, while the Halsey’s defense went to work to pitch a shutout for a 2-0 win.
Hawaii FC also entered the matchup undefeated, but the loss put them one game in back of Halsey with a 2-1 record in the Red Division.
As expected, both teams battled their way throughout the game, but in a tough face off such as that, just one mistake could be devastating.
While Hawaii FC goalkeeper Electronics Technician (Communication) 3rd Class Alan Cebreros played a tremendous game by coming up with numerous stops, it’s the ones that get away that always kill you.
Early on Cebreros used his athletic ability to play away from the goal, but in one instant, Halsey made him pay for his daring style of play.
Coming down the right side of the field, Brooks took the ball past the halfway marker and as he approached the goal, he saw Cebreros out of position.
Taking a chance, Brooks accepted the challenge and launched a kick that got to the back of the net before Cebreros could recover.
The long goal by Brooks stood through the rest of the first half and allowed Halsey to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“He (Cebreros) was being a little cocky standing out deep,” Brooks said. “I looked up and saw him and I knew he saw me. I saw his eyes get big and he knew he was in trouble.”
After intermission, the teams resumed play with Halsey changing up their defense to keep Hawaii FC off-balance.
The change of pace was a good plan, as it allowed Halsey to tighten the grip on Hawaii FC’s offense.
“We ran ourselves to the ground in the first half,” Brooks said. “After we came out, we moved to a two-four-two. We were playing a three-three-two.”
Late in the game, with Halsey maintaining their 1-0 lead, Brooks struck again and that put the game in the team’s back pocket.
This time, Brooks came from the top and took the ball right down the middle of the field, before kicking in his second goal of the game.
The ball barely inched its way in, as it ricocheted off the left upright and bounced back into the net for a goal.
“I got a good pass and just a little bit of composure right in front of the net,” Brooks said. “It was kind of unfair for the goalie because I was wide open.”
Last year, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) shocked Joint Base, when they became the first ship to win the intramural soccer championship.
Brooks said that with the talent that is on Halsey, he feels that they can become the second destroyer to take home the big prize.
“We do have a good team and we all get along,” he said. “Yeah, this team is going undefeated. Put that in quotes.”