Sept. 9th marked the opening game for the Fall
2001 campaign and pitted the Aegean Hawks against league powerhouse
and Spring 2001 Premier Division Champions Maurice Electric. The Hawks
were showcasing several new players, but were confident that the resultant
increased talent pool would pay dividends. The game started in abrupt
fashion with both teams looking to assert their will against the other.
Injuries did not take long to mount against the Hawks during the game,
as sweeper Tom Karygiannis had to leave the game in the first 5 minutes
after sustaining a cut above his right eye requiring 17 stitches.
In the 7th minute, stopper Mick Sicre pulled up with a recurring calf
muscle pull and the Hawks had to scramble the line-up to shore up
the middle of the defense. This unexpected turn of events tested the
Hawk's composure, but the Hawks were up to the challenge and marched
ahead against of seasoned Maurice Electric squad.
In an otherwise see-saw first half of action, Maurice struck first
in the 15th minute, when Electric's #11 made a beautiful cross from
the left side of the field into the box. Long-time goalie Nick Brasich
made a valiant effort to head off the ball, but it sailed just beyond
his finger tips onto the oncoming #8 for an easy header in the top
The Hawks, undaunted applied good pressure for the rest of the
half and entered the half confident that a scoring opportunity would
be converted. From Shady Grove hospital, Tom K. commiserated with
another WISL casualty from the Bier - Fresh Fields game and hoped
that the team would come through in his absence. The game was physical
from the get-go, and the referee was quick to hand out yellow cards,
with several players from both teams receiving cautions throughout.
As the first half came to a close, both teams had survived scares
to leave the score at 0-1.
The second half saw the Hawks come out early to convert a goal
as Aegean Hawks all time scoring leader, Panikos Michael rifled
a long shot past the outstretched hands of Maurice's keeper in the
55th minute. After scoring, Panikos treated all bystanders to an
enthusiastic Greek version of Micael Jackson's "I'm Bad". The Hawks
continued to build on team principles with a new lineup in the second
half. Newcomers Marcos Araus and Kevin Headly played well on the
outside flanks of the midfield as Yuri Sudhakar and newcomer Richard
Shaheen worked well in the middle. Chris Pirillos, fresh off of
his meeting with Figo in a Cyprus airport, displayed his nifty moves
in the box and was robbed of two great blasts by good saves from
the Maurice keeper. Newcomer John Stevens was solid and composed
in an emergency role as sweeper, Andy Baldwin's tenacious defence
filled the gaps, veterans Peacher and Knight held down the fort,
and the Hawks had moments of brilliance despite their shaken lineup.
However, Maurice wasn't finished. A defensive lapse in the 67th
minute saw a beautiful through ball by Maurice #26 to the feet of
a striker who had made a run across the field from the rigtht side.
The Hawks defenders, caught in a marking error, allowed the Maurice
striker to rifle a shot to the far post past Nick Brasich for the
a go-ahead goal. The Hawks continued to apply pressure and converted
the tie goal in the 77th minute as Marcos Araus sent a crisp volley
towards goal from the 18 yard line. An opportunistic Yuri Sudahakar
netted the resultant ricochet off a Maurice defender through a slot
in the defense and into the right had corner from 12 yards for a
The Hawks, confident of a win and now playing with a player down
after Ricahrd Shaeen's second yellow card, continued to apply pressure
and almost converted off a free kick from 20 yards in the 80th minute.
A scorching shot from Panikos Michael was pushed off target by the
Maurice keeper, hitting the cross bar and resulting in a corner.
Both teams had good chances in the final minute, but when the referee
blew the final whistle, the 2-2 tie was official. All in all, a
fair effort for the first outing. The presence of newcomers Nate
Smith and Nick LaPorta, plus veteran sweeper/stopper Irving Williams
for the next game against the World Bank will result in a more stable
In other WISL action La U, World Bank, and Velocity got off to
good starts with opening day victories.