BHS 1-0 Interlake
55th min Audrey (Hannah)
There's just something about a chilly night at Interlake. Last season, we traveled to the Saints, played beautiful soccer, and lost on a counter-punch goal despite outshooting the hosts by a million. And last night felt eerily similar. We played well (a shade sloppier than we've seen over the last few games), but our finishing was just slightly off. And Interlake had an excellent tactical plan that they executed to perfection: pack a well-organized and athletic defensive line plus two deep-sitting holding midfielders in front of their goal, and counter-attack with their speedy #19 upfront. This tactic only works if they are able to ride out the early onslaught of possession and shots by our girls. During our first encounter a few weeks ago, we scored two quick goals and easily controlled the game from there before adding a third. But tonight, instead of finding the back of the net, we hit crossbars and fired narrowly wide. It happens. And with each minute that passes, the pressure shifts from the defenders to the aggressors. And so it went. And the Saints defending was excellent...
...except that we have Audrey Miller, and they don't.
In a second half that until that point looked a lot like the first: Bellevue keeping possession and trying to break-down an organized defense, and Interlake taking their chances with occasional counter-attacks: we used their tactics against them. Interlake launched a counter-attack and found the feet of their dangerous #19 who raced at our center-backs. Alarm-bells were ringing. With Interlake players breaking out of their shell to support the attack, senior captain Audrey didn't hear the alarm, but instead calmly won the tackle, and led a counter-attack of our own against the now exposed Interlake defense that hadn't had a chance to reset. Audrey slipped a ball through to Hannah on the left-wing, Hannah spun back and gave the ball back to Audrey, who hip-froze her defender before sliding a perfect low shot into the far corner. Just flawless.
From there, we saw the game out, but with some nervy moments at the very end, and some no-nonsense defending at the last. Finish the job. And we did.
Highlights & Notes. With MI's surprising loss to Newport last week (well done Knights), we have officially won our pandemic mini-league regardless of what happens on Thursday. However, I know that our team would very much like to finish an undefeated season in style against our noisy neighbors to the south. More importantly, we get the chance to honor our seniors during pre-game.
We hit a lot of posts vs Interlake. Hinana rattled the crossbar with her first touch. Kendall fired the ball at the near post that the keeper narrowly pushed wide. Alex did everything right on the left wing before cutting back inside and skimming the top of the crossbar with her shot. Again, we created plenty of chances: 20/5 vs. 4/1 shots/corners. And on another night, one of our early chances goes in and the entire game is different; Our defense was stout. Our 5th shutout in 7 games as Audrey, Zoe, Danielle, Ava, Gaby, Amber and Vanessa were all tough on the tackle and poised in possession. With special recognition to our keepers Ashely & Izzy, who often don't have a lot to do, but then are called upon to make plays when we need them most.
aBHS JV 7-0 Interlake
7th min Emma W (McKenna
30th Emily (Lilian)
50th Gisele (Shae)
62nd Gisele (Madison)
Unlike the tight contest the Varsity team experienced on Tuesday night at Interlake, the Saints’ JV squad was not quite as fortified as their senior team.
Our recent spate of slow starts were an afterthought on the night and it took just seven minutes for us to find the back of the net. McKenna made a great run down the flank and after shedding her defender, sent in a low cross that Emma Whittier easily tapped into the net.
All indications pointed toward a big early lead but our finishing let us down for a good spell of time. Despite good possession and ball movement, our composure in front of the goal left much to be desired. Time and time again we squandered our opportunities. There were lots of shots over the crossbar or put wide. We talk all the time about our finishing and we even ran drills to combat our weakness but nothing seemed to work.
We went nearly 25 minutes and numerous chances after that first goal until Emily and Allison got us rolling again. Both girls scored on rebounds and Allison got another with some nifty dribbling in the box before depositing it in the net.
With a four-goal lead at halftime we talked about cleaning up our finishing and continuing our good possession. Goals at this point were not necessary but possession and movement were important. We showed great sportsmanship in the second half and kept the game from really getting out of control. Gisele scored a pair of goals and McKenna also got on the scoreboard with a nice shot from distance.
The statistics showed our dominance as we had a season high 42 shots and their keeper made 14 saves. Our shutout streak is still alive.
Our rivals from Mercer Island visit on Thursday for our last game of the season and they will surely be looking for some revenge from our 5-0 beating last time around. It should be fun.