BHS 3-1 Juanita
33rd min Mia (Lexi)
34th min Juanita corner kick header
53rd min Mia (Cami)
58th min Cami (Mia)
We have so much to be thankful for, big and small. We get to play a game we love with our friends, representing our school and our city. Last night versus Juanita, we were treated to another unseasonably wonderful October sunset as our girls entered the away press box for our pre-game routine. It was a beautiful moment. Our team walked shoulder-to-shoulder wearing their Bellevue blue and bright pink socks. The bright pink a small reminder that oftentimes life doesn't always deal you sunsets and stadiums, so we should enjoy them when we get them. The girls emerged smiling and laughing but with a look of determination that showed me they were ready for Juanita. Since our victory against the Ravens in early September, Juanita had gone undefeated in Kingco including a commanding 4-1 demolition of their biggest rivals Lake Washington. They have our total respect. Their team had climbed up to #2 in the Kingco standings and it is clear that Juanita is an ambitious group determined to qualify for their first state tournament.
The game couldn't have started any better for Bellevue as we spent the entirety of the first 10 minutes deep in the Juanita half, hitting posts and crossbars, forcing the Ravens' keeper into saves, and recording 4 corners in a barrage of attacking intent. But the very organized Juanita defense weathered our early storm, and they began to probe our own defense with counter-attacks, giving their backline some relief. But we finally broke through in the 33rd minute, as Lily made an excellent choice on a free kick to hit a simple ball to Lexi's feet on the right wing rather than hit a high hopeful ball into the heart of the Juanita defense (the Juanita center backs are tall, very tall, and great in the air). Lexi beat her defender and slipped a square ball into Mia's feet, one touch to settle and the second touch bulged the back of the net at the far post from 15 yards. 1-0 Bellevue. And at that moment, I thought the game would crack wide open. We had put the Juanita team under so much pressure, that I thought our first goal would lead to a quick second or third before halftime. I was wrong. Instead, Juanita hit an excellent long ball straight from the kick-off, we gave away a soft corner, and they scored from a well-hit cross and thumping header (did I mention that their center-backs were very tall and good in the air?). Tie-game and Juanita was full of confidence.
We had played so well and created so many chances (10/5 shots/corners to 1/1 for Juanita at half), that the 1-1 halftime score felt a bit queasy. A whiff of danger in what should've been a sweet-smelling bouquet of flowers given our overall quality. However, we knew that with a similar effort in the second half we would create enough chances to align the scoreline with the statistics. The breakthrough came in the 53rd minute. Having just came into the game, Cami made an instant impact sending a perfect early pass behind the Juanita defense for Mia who raced past her defender before calmly finishing. 2-1 Bellevue. And just 5 minutes later, Cami and Mia reversed roles, with Mia sliding an inch-perfect pass into Cami's path to hammer home on the doorstep. 3-1 Bellevue. Final score. And the sole members of Club Perfect extended their winning streak to 11 games.
Next up we have three consecutive away games, traveling to Interlake on Thursday, Hazen next Tuesday, and Mercer Island in two weeks for their senior night. With a result against Interlake on Thursday, our girls will mathematically secure their second straight Kingco league title with three games remaining to be played. We should have plenty of incentive against the Saints.
As I mentioned above, repeatedly, Juanita is very dangerous on set pieces. Every corner and free kick required our full focus and attention. And good goalkeeping. Amirah made several excellent reaction-saves off of corner-kick headers that prevented the game from turning into a dark Edgar Allen Poe nightmare for our girls. Nevermore.
I am very thankful for this team, and the community that supports it. A huge thank you to all of the boosters and parents who support the girls with all of the little (and big) acts of thoughtfulness and volunteerism. Sunsets and stadiums.