Sunday, October 26, 2008

Indoor Soccer

I thought some of my readers might be interested in this sports news from the Central Oregon Indoor Soccer League (Men's A) and the Antioch Church team for which I play goalkeeper and my sons Nathan and Jasper both play.

In the last game of the regular season Wednesday night, the Antioch team surprised the men of Chivas Bend with a strong all-around performance that resulted in a 10-4 drubbing. Chivas, who would go on to win the playoffs the following night, were never in this one, as they trailed 5-0 after a first half in which the Antioch defense played with clinical precision and the offense was firing on all cylinders.

Antioch, a young team beginning to gel at season's end, could do little wrong, and the visitors were reeling under an offensive onslaught. Nathan Gerhardt opened the scoring with a hammered right-footed shot from the left side. Gary Christensen made it 2-nil when he deftly converted a header from the top of the box. When Tyler Fetters slotted home a shot from no less than the midfield stripe, the Antioch fans (Courtney, Joelle, and Krea) went wild.

But the home side was not done. Awarded a free kick in the offensive zone, Nathan Gerhardt caught the Chivas napping (well, actually, busy arguing the call). He back-heeled the ball to his brother Jasper streaking down the right side, who fired it just inside the far post. Brandon Groza volleyed in a cross from Nathan to finish off an inspired first half.

Once the Chivas decided to return after the break, the men of Antioch found the play a bit more balanced, and time and again their defense was put to the test. "Gary played out of this world!" said awestruck keeper Rick Gerhardt. "He personally blocked more shots than I was called on to save." Jasper Gerhardt was also an immovable force in defense, calmly turning away every rebound before the Chivas forwards could reach them.

Nonetheless, the visitors managed to find the goal net three times in quick succession, before Emi Popa made a telling run down the right side and slammed in Antioch's 6th goal of the night. Nathan Gerhardt scored his second of the evening after dribbling through most of the opponent's men, and then a Jasper Gerhardt cross led to an own goal on the part of Chivas' beleagured defense. When Kip Jones notched home a header in the 35th minute (given a nifty pass from Popa), each of Antioch's field players had managed a goal. Chivas would score once more, but Nathan Gerhardt's goal on a breakaway completed his hat trick and the home side's rout. Another goal by Popa set a cap on the victory, despite its being ruled as having crossed the goal line subsequent to the game-ending buzzer.

With this convincing win at the end of the fall campaign, Antioch has shown a promise of even better things to come in the spring, and the team's fans (Courtney, Joelle, and Krea) have every reason to expect great things from future matches.

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