The Athens Review
The Athens Hornets got their first taste of scrimmage action Tuesday night with their annual alumni scrimmage at Bruce Field.
Head coach Jonathan Ryal found out what his team needs to work on after a 9-4 loss to the alumni.
“Offensively, we are a little bit ahead of the game,” Ryal said. “We did not have Enrique (Rodriguez) here with us tonight. We were able to score four goals and defensively, we have some work to do.”
In last year’s scrimmage against the alumni, the Hornets lost to the alumni by a score of 2-1.
Ryal has a team that is looking to improve on an 8-12-5 season last year. They lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs to Kilgore, 3-0, at Whitehouse.
One player the varsity Hornets had a tough time defending Tuesday night was Jose “Pepino” Romero.
Romero — who is currently third on the all-time scoring list with 44 goals — scored four of the alumni’s goals against junior goalie Garrett Lawyer.
Lawyer is taking over the spot from Johnny Gonzalez — who graduated last year and was named the district’s newcomer of the year.
“They are very similar. Johnny (Gonzalez) had been playing a little bit and Garrett has played no organized soccer in a very long time,” Ryal said. “I think Garrett is going to be an extremely good keeper and he needs to know what to do in certain situations.”
After taking a 3-0 lead in the first half, the varsity Hornets got on the scoreboard as Jordy Castaneda found a streaking Rene Nunez, who blasted a shot into the net for the 3-1 deficit.
The alumni then scored the final three goals of the half as two goals from Mic Maldonado and one goal from Bryant Castaneda to give the alumni a 6-1 lead heading into the break.
In the second half, the Hornets had goals on a header by Juan Mota off an assist from Reis Dunavan, a goal by Efrain Hernandez off an assist from Alexis Beltran for an 8-3 deficit.
The Hornets final goal of the scrimmage came on a blast from Jordy Castaneda for an 8-4 deficit.
The Hornets are scrimmaging Crandall and Spring Hill this morning and will host Jacksonville on Tuesday. Tuesday’s scrimmage is set to begin with the junior varsity at 5 p.m.
“I want to see our defense get better and see which group works better together,” Ryal said. “Jacksonville is really good and we are going to see what we are made of. We hope to have everybody back for that scrimmage and we can see what I expect the team to be as a whole.”