Burlington, NJ -- The ASA Avengers opened the soccer season with a double header. The men's and women's soccer teams travelled to New Jersey to play against the RCBC Barons men's and women's soccer team back to back in over a hundred degree weather.
The women's soccer team was the first game of the double header. To start the game, the Avengers, Asako Ideue, scored in the first four minutes of the game with a corner kick. Nineteen minutes into the game, the Avengers committed a penalty and Amila Samjlovic scored off of a penalty kick. Ideue scored her second goal of the game by scoring from the top of the arc and catching their goal keeper off guard.
Two minutes later, the Avengers scored their third goal of the game with Shonagh Cleary assisting Destiny Beltran. "Destiny has an ability to get herself in the right spot at the right time and we were able to get a goal," said Women's Soccer Head Coach Jon Panella.
For the last goal of the half, Cassie Kennedy scored a goal for the RCBC Barons to end the half 3-2. At the start of the second half, Asako Ideue assisted Shonagh Cleary for a fourth goal. "Shonagh played extremely well. Her pace and speed really made an impact on the game," said Panella. "She was dangerous the entire game." The final goal of the game was from RCBC Baron's Amila Smajlovic scoring her second penalty kick to end the game with a score of 4-3, Avengers.
"I think the girls dealt with a lot of adversity yesterday under some very difficult conditions and I'm really proud of the efforts they gave this game. I hope we can bring the same effort and attitude the rest of the season," said Panella. "We defended well the entire game, which wasn't easy since we were on the road in this weather, and our offense was dangerous off the counterattack. Maria (Avenger's goalkeeper), also came up with some big saves for us."
Next up, ASA Avengers men's soccer team played in the second game of the double header. The Avengers gave up a goal in the first 20 seconds of the game. "It was the sweltering heat, and the guys were lethargic staying on the team bus for so long," said Men's Soccer Head Coach Brett Polow. However, the RCBC Baron's goal woke the team up and they dictated the play of the game for the next 80 minutes.
The Avengers first goal was by Joshua Hernandez and it was from a nice combination play between DeAndre Gordon and Joshua Hernandez to tie the game 15 minutes in. Five minutes later, DeAndre Gordon, Daquan Brown, and Joshua Hernandez set up Marsh Wilson for his first of three goals of the game and put the Avengers up 2-1. "Our third point was special," said Polow. "Daquan was defending and he stole the ball from the RCBC Barons. He made a 65 yard pass, and Marsh Wilson used his chest to catch the pass and side volleyed it into the goal. It was definitely the highlight goal of the game."
For the Avengers' fourth point, it was once again Daquan Brown and DeAndre Gordon hitting Marsh Wilson to complete his hat trick. With 13 minutes left to go, Rowan put up their 2nd point off a miscommunication between the Avenger's goalkeeper and the central defender. Shortly thereafter, Rowan scored their third point. From there on, the Avengers had the ball the rest of the game and Josh Hernandez scored Avengers 5th point to the end game 5-3.
"It's a great achievement when all 5 goals were scored by freshmen," said Polow. I asked the guys before the game to think about what it means to have pride in ourselves and pride in our team. And they answered in a big way. They didn't give up and this team is going to go far. The leaders of the team are starting to emerge" said Polow.