DEL MAR – The rivalry between the San Diego Sockers and the Anaheim Bolts reached new animosities Saturday night during the Sockers crushing win 13-6 at the Del Mar Arena, where the game ended with punches thrown and a bench clearing melee.
Sockers mid-fielder Eduardo Velez and Bolts defender Brennan Tennelle were ejected from the game with less than four minutes left in the game.
“It’s like a war down there,” said general manager John Kentera, referring to the action on the field.
In front of an energized crowd of 2,334, play on the pitch was aggressive, with several warnings being issued by the referees and both penalty boxes being occupied throughout.
The bench clearing fight occurred in the fourth quarter when forward Kraig Chiles was making a play for the ball. With frustrations on the Bolts’ side boiling over, Chiles was mixed up with a defender and held down. Velez, coming to the aid of Chiles, intervened and suffered a blow to his eye.
The Sockers, who appeared more focused in their game plan, seemed to score at will against the Bolts’ porous defense, with Chiles scoring 5 goals on the night, taking his league-leading goals to 19, and midfielder/forward Eric Wunderle scoring three times with two assists.
“This is one of our stronger team performances, (there was) a lot of chemistry, I thought, tonight, which was kind of missing in the past. It’s great to be out here and be a part of it and have such a great crowd,” said midfielder Nate Hetherington, who returned to the field after spending a month on the sidelines from a hamstring injury.
With the win, the Sockers still remain undefeated on the season, something they take pride in, but don’t talk about too much, Hetherington said.
“All we want to do is play hard for our fans and win games like the Sockers used to,” he added.
Saturday’s game signaled the start of the team’s busiest stretch of the season, playing eight games in 22 days.
The game also served as alumni night, honoring past players and coaches, including a special appearance by the Sockers most winning head coach Ron Newman at half-time. During the ceremony, the Sockers also re-named the PASL
championship trophy the “Newman Cup.”
The Anaheim Bolts joined the PASL league this season and are 0-3 against the Sockers. “(The Bolts) thought that they were going to come in and be one of the top teams, so obviously, everyone is out to get us,” Hetherington said. He went on to say the rivalry simply stems from the proximity of the two cities.
The Sockers next home game is Jan. 21 against the Turlock Express.