NIOC HI stays undefeated with win over 690/747

Jordan Abraham, facing the goal, watches as his kick sails toward the goal for a score. Abraham scored three times to lead NIOC HI.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii got out to a 4-1 lead and then hung on to defeat the combined squad of 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron (690 COS)/747th Communication Squadron (747 CS), 4-3, in a White Division intramural soccer matchup April 28 at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

NIOC HI continued to set the pace in the White Division by winning its seventh straight game against zero defeats, while the 690/747 now hold a record of 2-3-1.

In the win, Jordan Abraham, a military family member, came through big time for NIOC HI by recording a hat trick with three goals.

The first goal came quickly in the first half, as Abraham took care of a 50/50 ball near the goal to give NIOC HI a 1-0 lead.

On the play, Abraham found himself wide open and in a face-off against the 690/747 goal-keeper.

Moving the ball near the middle of the field, Abraham switched gears and faded to the left — drawing the keeper away from the goal, before booting the ball into the net.

“I knew I was going to beat the keeper on a 50/50 ball,” Abraham explained. “So I baited the keeper to come out, then I turned on the speed, that’s an easy finish.”

On his second goal, Abraham positioned himself just in front of the goal and got a fortunate break, when the ball dropped right beside him for an easy score.

In a fight at the goal, team-mate Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Juan Leon headed the ball straight up into the air.

Standing at the right place at the right time, Abraham let the ball drop in front of him, before kicking it into the goal for a 2-0 advantage.

“When the ball was coming down, I just put myself into the space,” he said. “When there’s space, there is always an opportunity to make a play.”

Then just before halftime, the 690/747 got a goal to cut the lead into half, but as time was about to expire, Senior Airman Brandon Miller placed a perfect boot from the left wing that snuck into the corner of the goal to make it 3-1 going into halftime.

“The most difficult part was getting down the side,” Miller stated. “Two defenders coming in, I kind of got lucky with the bounce of the ball. After I got in there, I’m pretty good at getting the ball off with my left foot.”

After halftime, NIOC HI immediately went back to work and kept the pressure on the 690/747.

With only minutes passed in the second half, Abraham was at it again, as he picked up his third goal of the game on play that was almost a carbon copy of his first score.

Again, Abraham got out in front of the pack, baited the keeper to come out to guard him and then proceeded to kick the ball into a wide-open goal.

The huge 4-1 lead may have lulled NIOC HI’s defense into letting its guard down, as the 690/747, behind the attack of Ken Baker, a military family member, stormed back to pull within a goal.

Baker took care of business on a breakaway down the left sideline that made it 4-2, then Baker came back to score his second goal of the game on a spectacular drive from the right side of the field that made it 4-3.

“Yeah, it got a little shaky, but we stuck together,” Miller said.

Abraham said that, with many returnees from last season’s squad, the team has learned to communicate well — especially when things get tight.

Both he and Miller agreed that with the way things are going, NIOC HI should definitely be in the mix for a championship this season.

“That’s definitely our goal,” Miller said. “We played a lot of the teams in our own league and even if the score lines are close, like today, I think we’ve outplayed everybody.”

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Category: Sports