Kunia Gallos unite for victorious title defense game

| March 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Randy Dela Cruz
U.S. Navy

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — The Kunia Gallos, a team comprised of players from Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii, and the U.S. Army and Air Force, began the defense of its Intramural Soccer League championship by trouncing USS Pasadena (SSN 752), 7-0, at Ward Field, here, Saturday.

Kunia, which captured the league title and finished with an overall record of 14-1 last season, opened the game versus Pasadena with an aggressive attack that pinned its opponent in the backfield for most of the first half.

Army Staff Sgt. Nathan Berry of the Kunia Gallos gets ready for a shot on goal as teammate, Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Burk, looks on in the background during the team’s Intramural Soccer League game against USS Pasadena (SSN 752) at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 6. Berry kicked in three goals while Burk scored one to help the Gallos beat Pasadena, 7-0, to open the new soccer season. The Gallos are the league’s defending champs. Pasadena had zero kicks on goal in the first half and managed only two shots for the entire game.

The defending champs took full advantage of the short field and converted four turnovers into a quartet of goals in the first half to take a commanding lead at the break.

“They (Pasadena) kind of telegraphed where they were going,” said Air Force Senior Airman Tim Mrozovich, who scored the first and fourth goals in the game. “So, when you see the goalie pick his head up and pass right to their guy, we just anticipated where the ball was going and stepped right in.”

The team also had three scoring kicks from Army Staff Sgt. Nathan Berry and single tallies from Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Brian Babilya and Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Burk.

Berry scored two of his goals in the first half, before booming in a shot from near midfield in the opening minutes of the second half.

“I’ve shot a lot of those and actually made one like that a couple of weeks ago,” said Berry of his long shot, which came after he made the switch from striker to goalkeeper. “If the opportunity is there, you just got to go for it.”

Babilya added his goal midway through the second half while Burk closed out the team’s scoring on a breakaway down the right side of the field.

In assessing Kunia’s solid opening game, Berry explained his team had lots of experience since many of the players have been on the Kunia squad for three seasons, and many of his teammates also participate in leagues off base as well.

“We’re as good as we can be,” said Berry, “but we’re going to be losing guys in the next couple of weeks, so we really have to win our first games.”

As long as the players keep focused and continue to play together as a team, Mrozovich said that Kunia could repeat as champions and may even surpass last season’s outstanding overall record.

“We can probably be undefeated,” said Mrozovich. “I feel pretty confident that we’re going to do very well.”

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