Eight isn't enough for Gaels

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It was often hard to simply keep track of the lopsided score on Monday afternoon when the Holy Family soccer team hosted St. Genevieve at the Glendale Sports Complex.

But in a season-opening match for both teams in which St. Genevieve scored early and often, it was indeed the numbers that told the story in an unsettling 12-0 nonleague loss for Holy Family.

"I wasn't even counting the score cause it's not something you want to remember," said Holy Family first-year Coach Basile Pagourtzis.

But it was easy to keep count on other aspects, perhaps the most noticeable being that only eight Gaels on a 15-player roster were there for the game. According to Pagourtzis, many of the missing players had yet to pay a school fee to play on the team or had not taken a physical.

"I'm not sure if the girls are not committed or the parents aren't committed," Pagourtzis said. "I'm not sure why the school won't let them play without paying. Why can't they just let them pay as the year goes on?

"It's frustrating for me. For the girls, also it's frustrating. It's demoralizing to play a game like this."

It wasn't anything that Valiants Coach Marlon Archey was pleased with either.

"It's a bad situation. It's not what we wanted," said Archey, who added he had two games later in the week against tough competition and knew his team needed to get out on the field. "We had to get some work in."

In the game of numbers, it was just 17 seconds into the match when Melissa Rios gave St. Genevieve a 1-0 lead. Rios scored again in the 13th minute, but by that time, Breyanna Arrington had already scored twice and Frances Dominguez had also tallied a goal. In all, the Valiants scored nine goals in a first half that rarely saw the ball leave the Valiants' attacking third.

By the time Holy Family registered its first shot of the day in the 48th minute, the score was 10-0. The first shot and four of Holy Family's five shots came from forward Krystina Oberhammer. Oberhammer firmly asserted herself as the Gaels' top player and lone highlight on the day. Just about every Oberhammer shot was a quality scoring chance and all four were saved. She played all over the field at forward, midfield and defender, as well.

The only position she did not play was at goalie, where the Gaels are likely without starting keeper Tara Sims for the season, as Sims recently underwent knee surgery, according to Pagourtzis.

"I asked the girls before the game who wanted to play goalie and nobody wanted to," said Pagourtzis, whose team was noticeably fatigued and dispirited in the second half. "At halftime, everybody wanted to play goalie."

Also missing was Holy Family's Monet Estrada, another top returner, which left Oberhammer as the one player on the field for Holy Family that played soccer the season prior, though sweeper Shannon Pomar did play well throughout much of the match.

Moving forward, Pagourtzis is hoping to be able to get some of his players back in hopes of actually fielding a regulation squad as it's unlikely many teams will be as understanding and as willing as St. Genevieve to play eight-on-eight soccer. He added that his ideal number is 13 as having a couple of substitution options would be a nice touch, as well.

As a sidenote, the match also began five minutes early and was ended roughly 25 minutes early, though nobody complained.

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