Gig Harbor 3-0 Bellevue
Sometimes the feeling after a loss can be noble: like when an underdog plays its very best against a superior opponent but still doesn't prevail. But that doesn't describe our game vs. Gig Harbor. At all. Sometimes the feeling after a loss is demoralizing, when a team is so humbled by a superior opponent that it crushes the spirit. That also doesn't apply to our game on Saturday evening. Not even a little bit. Or sometimes a loss can feel profoundly unfair, like when a clearly superior team outshoots an opponent by 30 shots and still loses to a dubious penalty. But at no point did I feel like Saturday's contest was unfair or lopsided in any way (expect for the scoreline). Gig Harbor is great team. My feeling after Saturday night was mostly of "opportunity lost" with a good amount of frustration, but balanced with just enough optimism. I have the utmost respect for the Gig Harbor program. They are well organized, well coached, and always compete. They are the defending champs for good reason. However, for 95% of the game on Saturday, we played them straight up. For a neutral observer who didn't know which team was the defending champs, it would've been difficult to pick which team was the favorite given the general run of play. The game stats tell a similar story, BHS 10/4 shots/corners to GHHS 8/5.
After the first 39 minutes, the game was scoreless with Gig harbor admittedly having the best chance with their very dangerous striker missing a 1v1 midway through the half. But we had plenty of chances of our own, and the game was shaping up to be a cagey battle that seemed destined to go down to the final minute. And it did, we just didn't expect that final minute to be the last few seconds of the first half. Gig Harbor's striker made amends for her earlier miss by riding through two tackle attempts before finishing strong to the lower left corner on the stroke of halftime. Ugh. It was the first shot on goal for Gig Harbor in the half. And they made it count.
So naturally, we had to take on more risk in the 2nd half as we searched for the equalizer. We created significantly more chances than Gig Harbor in the 2nd half (7 shots to 3), but couldn't find the final decisive finish. And so with 10 minutes left in the game, we took off a defender and added a striker as a tactical gambit to tie the game. Of course, in pulling a defender, we accept that our defense will be short-handed and therefore more susceptible to counter-attacks. And although we created several great chances after we made the switch, Gig Harbor made us pay with two well-taken goals in the last four minutes to hang a lopsided scoreline on an otherwise even game.
It isn't an excuse for our loss, all teams have illnesses and injuries in their team in the third week of the season, but our girls were certainly not feeling their best on Saturday. The coughing and sniffling during pre-game was considerable. So here's the guideline: if you're ill enough that you can't play, then don't. Rest. Sleep. Get better. The season is long and your teammates have your back. You all have my total support and approval to take care of yourselves. However, if you think you can still contribute something, anything to the team, even if only in 10 minute chunks. Then do (just don't use our team water bottles or give many high-fives to your teammates). So thank you for all of the girls who showed amazing toughness to battle through a competitive game while not feeling their best. You know who you are.