09/16/04 — James Kenan soccer team flashes by Spring Creek

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James Kenan soccer team flashes by Spring Creek

By David Williams
Published in Sports on September 16, 2004 1:56 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Speed is a critical element of every sport -- and especially important to the game of soccer.

Anyone needing a demonstration of that should have been at Spring Creek High School Thursday night as James Kenan's soccer team blew by the homestanding Gators 10-0.

The Tigers (5-1-1) had too much speed in the forwards to match up with the Gators, employing a simple strategy -- the midfielders dump the ball behind the pushed-up Spring Creek defenders, and the speedy forwards -- Hector Bermudez, Demetrio Barrera, Jesus Cheluca and Jose Rijo -- took it from there.

It worked to perfection.

Bermudez got the first goal five minutes into the game on a breakaway that he pushed past onrushing goalie Jose Escobar and one-touched it into the net. Two minutes later, it was Barrera who took a pass from Bermudez on a two-on-one and blew a shot through Escobar and into the net.

Escobar then played brilliantly, standing off constant James Kenan attacks to keep Spring Creek (1-4) in the game. But the Gator forwards could never mount a serious threat against Kenan's sticky and slick defenders, who won the ball and pushed it ahead to mount another attack.

"I'm extremely pleased with their talent, to say the least," said Kenan assistant coach Bob Mitchell, who was standing in for head coach Steve Leroux. "We're starting to pass the ball like a team and come together as a team, so I've got big hopes for this group. They deserve it -- there are a lot of juniors and seniors on this team, and we went to the third round last year and I've got big hopes for them."

Sixteen minutes before the half, the wheels came off the Gators' wagon.

James Kenan's Alfredo Mejia nailed a penalty kick inside the box on Escobar's right side to make the score 3-0, starting a four-goal onslaught in the next five minutes. Goals came from Bermudez, Jose Rojo and Alfredo Martinez, who beat his defender and chipped a shot past Escobar. Kenan held a 6-0 lead at the half.

Spring Creek coach Christy Shiver pulled many eight of her starters off the field late in the first half to give them perspective on how Kenan was exploiting them.

" It's disappointing that it takes being down that many goals before they actually got to a level where they were ready to play," she said. "They saw everything that happened. You shouldn't have to do that. Wanting to play in the last 20 minutes of a game is too late. They've gotta want to play from the beginning -- you've gotta want to be out there."

The Gators were a better team in the second half, marking the Kenan forwards better and playing more competitively in the midfield. Barrera beat his defender early in the second half and deked Escobar to get an easy goal on an open look nine minutes in. Bermudez struck again in front of the net off assists from Jose Pedraza and Martinez at the 24:05 mark, and Kenan finished it's scoring at the halfway point of the second half when Barrera crossed the ball to Dennis Padilla, who pushed it by the keeper and into the net.

"I'm proud of the team because of their intelligence with the ball," said Mitchell. "They play the game like they're supposed to play it, and the know where the ball is supposed to be."

Escobar saved another 18 shots for the Gators, drawing praise from Shivar.

"Our keeper is awesome," she said. "He works hard every day."

Shivar said she wished her team had displayed the kind of effort they put forth in an earlier game against Hobbton.

"At Hobbton, we would have tied these guys 2-2," she said. "We really would have. Tonight, I don't think the full heart of the team was there."

Kenan will meet North Johnston Monday in Kenly, while Spring Creek plays at Farmville Central on Tuesday and at Ayden-Grifton on Wednesday.

James Kenan 6 4 -- 10

Spring Creek 0 0 -- 0

First half

JK -- Bermudez (Barrera assist), 34:26

JK -- Barrera (Bermudez assist), 33:41

JK -- Mejia PK, 16:10

JK -- Rojo (Bermudez assist), 11:52

JK -- Martinez (unassisted), 10:50

JK -- Bermudez (unassisted), 9:11

Second half

JK -- Barrera (unassisted), 35:00

JK -- Bermudez (Pedraza, Martinez assist), 24:05

JK -- Padilla (Barrera assist), 20:55

JK Sp Ck

35 Shots 5

3 Corner kicks 2

15 Offsides 2

3 Fouls 2

Saves -- Eastern Wayne -- Barralaga 5. Spring Creek -- Escobar 18.