Originally created 06/04/06

FireBall coast to victory



Even with a fill-in goalie, the Augusta FireBall showed no signs of slowing down Saturday night.

Drew Keeshan's night in the net was a breeze, because the FireBall oozed offensive firepower. Freddie Moojen, Ryan Austin and Mark Buchholz each scored goals as Augusta knocked off the Palm Beach Pumas, 3-1, at Patriots Park.

Keeshan took over for regular goalie Justin Papadakis, who started the first four games. Papadakis is with Duke University's soccer squad in Germany and won't return for a couple of weeks. So Keeshan, the team's assistant coach for goalkeepers, is in the goal for now, though the team recently signed another goalie.

"Drew did a great job," Augusta head coach Alec Papadakis said.

"Overall, it was an easy game to play," Keeshan said. "My main thing was organization."

Keeshan got plenty of support from his teammates. The FireBall kept the ball on the offensive side of the field most of the night, and Keeshan faced just seven shots on goal. He collected four saves.

Plenty of pressure was taken off Keeshan midway through the first half. With Augusta leading 1-0, Palm Beach's Joseph McGuire picked up a red card for a hard foul. The Pumas (3-3-0) played the rest of the game a man down.

"We were already dominating the game," Buchholz said.

In the 48th minute, Buchholz found Austin open, and Austin beat Pumas goalie Matthew Thorne inside the right post. Augusta went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

With the FireBall coasting early in the second half, there was really one thing of consequence remaining.

Would Moojen pick up a goal?

Moojen, the team's leading scorer, blasted a shot top shelf over Thorne for his seventh goal of the season. The FireBall led 3-0.

The FireBall (4-0-1) trail only Carolina (6-0-0) in the South Atlantic Division.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.