Bellevue 0-0 Interlake
After forecasts of lightning and thunder for most of the day, it was nice to get back to our Kingco schedule with a surprisingly crisp and dry night at Interlake. Perfect for soccer. I'm glad the weather people got it wrong. And like any trepidations that turn out to be unfounded, any concerns about our girls being able rally themselves after two frustrating losses were equally unfounded. Yes, a 0-0 tie will never be the marketing centerpiece for compelling soccer, but I thought our girls played a crisp and competitive game and were unfortunate to not score several of the opportunities we created. And more importantly, we didn't allow a goal in our first six minutes, nor did we allow 3 goals in the first 15 minutes. So progress. In fact, our defensive shape was better and more solid than its been all season with Zoe, Claire, Malena, Kaatje and Julia all putting in good shifts in our backline, and with Courtney, IzzyB, Audrey, and Halle all working hard to keep us balanced in the middle. Up front, Del, Kaia, Ally, Taylor, AnnaB, Chloe and Grace worked hard to open up the tenacious Saint's defense. We ended up outshooting Interlake 12-5 with a 3-1 advantage in corners. So territorially, we created chances and had our opportunities to score; but sometimes when emerging from a challenging period, it takes a few grinding games to settle down and get results. Last night felt like one of those grinders. We worked very hard, the shape was better, but we were still not quite sharp enough to turn our possession and territorial advantages into a victory. We were improved, but with room for improvement.
On Thursday, we host a very strong LW program. We have had epic battles with the Kangs over the last two seasons, so our players know to expect a very physical and challenging game against a team that has ambitions to win Kingco this year.
Highlights: The JV Swing. I like to plan things; however, there are times when spontaneity in coaching is the right thing to do. The coaching staff has been watching our JV team very closely over the last few weeks of training and games. The entire JV team has been playing beautiful and strong soccer all season, and several players have been shining brightly. Last night at Interlake, we had varsity players missing from illness and others not feeling their best, so during halftime of the JV game, Coach Kay and I decided to offer two JV players the opportunity to "swing" between games: play a half with JV, and a half with varsity. I usually don't do this because I understand that 5 hours at a soccer venue is a very long time when trying to balance homework demands (and when we do, it's usually with several days notice, not minutes). So my first question to both JV players we approached was, "how much homework do you have tonight." Both claimed light workloads, and were eager to join the varsity game, and so Julia and Chloe played the second half of the second game and did themselves proud. Thank you (and apologies) to their respective families for the last minute request. They both made us stronger. (note: when a player swings between games, they are only allowed to compete in a single half of each game regardless of how many minutes they play, which is why Julia/Chloe played the first half of JV, and only the second at varsity).
Substitutes. Also, I thought our substitutes all contributed when given their opportunities. Nobody likes being on the bench. It's frustrating; however, it's a very important role, and if not done with the right attitude, can eat at a team culture from inside. So I ask our substitutes to be ready, be supportive, and to make a difference when given their chance (I don't ask them to be satisfied, just ready)... And they did. The players who came off the bench each contributed with their minutes, with special recognition to AnnaB who was particularly dangerous when given her chance.