BHS 1-0 Bainbridge
18th min Mia (Lillian)
Thursday was a day of firsts for our program. It was the first time we played Bainbridge HS. The first time that all three teams traveled together in a single bus. And therefore the first time I've been able to get an (almost) all-program photo from a ferry with the Seattle skyline in the background.
Of course, it helped that we had a perfect fall PNW day for our journey across the Sound, the mountain was out, barely a cloud in the sky, and the city from the water is glorious. All that was missing was a pod of orcas playing in our wake and we would've been a PSA for the local tourism board.
And we played a soccer game too. After watching our JV dismantle a tough and determined Bainbridge JV squad, our varsity took the field with confidence and tenacity. We played very well throughout, and the final result was a 1-0 win; however, this was one of those soccer scorelines that barely represents what actually happened on the field of play. So allow me to let the statistics provide the narrative: BHS Shots/Corners: 25/6. Bainbridge 2/1. An optimist would describe our performance as tough, controlled, and with clear dominance in possession and field position. A pessimist would gaze into the sky with ennui, adjust their beret, exhale a long whistful breath and declare that our finishing was merde. The truth is somewhere in between. There were certainly a lot of positives and valuable lessons, the most important being that we shut out a good opponent and had to close out a game in the last 5 minutes when the opposing team applied frenetic pressure looking for an equalizer. That's good experience for any team to draw upon later in the season. And we scored a great goal. Let's not forget that winning does really matter in a competitive contest. Yes, yes, the process and the journey and lessons learned are all good things too...but as long as we are competing, I'd prefer learning how to win alongside all of the other character-building attributes of competing well and honestly. So gritty 1-0 wins when we left our shooting boots back in Bellevue tells me a lot about this team, even early in the season. A year ago on this very same matchday, we had a similar possession and statistical advantage against Blanchet, and left the field with a 0-0 tie. A 1-0 result is better. Stats.
Our lone goal was beautiful. In the 18th minute, tireless Maddy switched play from left to right finding Leah at midfield, who then spun and hit an early entry pass to Lillian, our "agent of chaos" up front. With time and space due to the quality of Leah's pass, Lillian got her head up, saw two excellent runs into the box (Mia to the front, Hinana for the cut-back), and placed a perfect cross into Mia's path for her head home. Mia's bravery was on full display as she got clattered by her desperate defender who seemed more interested in practicing her amateur decapitation skills than winning the ball. But Mia kept her head, literally, then picked herself up and calmly jogged back to the center circle as if flying goalscoring headers and mid-air collisions were common daily habits for her just like hitting the snooze bar or having a giggle with friends.
Overall, it was a winning result, with room for improvement in certain areas, on an amazingly beautiful day in the PNW. Five stars.
Now we move onto Kingco league play. We travel to Lake Washington on Tuesday in a matchup between two State quarterfinalist from last season, and a rematch of the 2019 State championship game. Games with the Kangs are always tight and competitive, so we'll need to find another gear or two heading into next week.
Highlights: Although we dominated possession, Bainbridge were dangerous on the counter-attack with several very quick forwards. On one occasion in the 2nd half, their forward latched onto a long ball and raced in on goal with Emma doing just enough to slow down her progress until the calvary arrived, and by calvary, I mean Hinana and Maddy who each made 60 yard full sprints to track back and provide the additional cover necessary to eventually win the ball back. So proud of our two midfielders who were at least 10-15 yards behind the play as it began, and therefore might have thought that there was no chance to provide any help and therefore downshifted into a jog. Instead, they both sprinted in recovery, caught up with Emma and the forward, and snuffed out any chance for an equalizer late in the game. Mental toughness and competitive grit on full display; Similarly, our goalkeeper didn't have much to do..until she did. On another late second half counter-attack, it looked as if Bainbridge had gotten around our wing and onto goal but Amirah calmly cut off the angle and then anticipated the cross, intercepting the pass that had two Bainbridge attackers eager to finish at the back post. Keeping mental focus as a keeper when you aren't seeing the ball very often is a skill. I'm glad we have skilled keepers. Well done Amirah. And finally, Seattle, a full moon, and our ferry journey were highlights worth re-emphasizing. We live in a beautiful place.