BHS 3-0 Juanita
th min Leah (Mia & Hinana)
54th min Maddy (unassisted)
72nd min Mia (Lily)
When I was playing regularly, (a long, long time ago). I used to have a recurring dream that I was playing soccer and running as fast as I could but wasn't going anywhere. It was as if the soccer field had been covered with 2 feet of molasses and I couldn't get my legs to move despite my full effort. A nightmare for a young player who liked to run.
I was reminded of this childhood dream as I watched us play against Juanita. We were trying. No criticism of our seriousness or desire. But everything seemed labored. Ponderous. All sound and fury signifying nothing. Sloppy. Very very sloppy. Running in molasses.
In a long season, it's not uncommon to have weird stretches where a once purring engine hiccups a bit (mostly this is highly correlated to the proximity to Homecoming...). And Tuesday against Juanita was a big hiccup. But one of the many encouraging signs of a team's potential is how they play when things aren't going well. And things weren't going well offensively, but we still led at halftime 1-0. As a team, we shared our analysis and insights during the break (with only the faintest threat of Friday fitness from me if we didn't play to our potential in the 2nd half), and the girls self-diagnosed the issues (too impatient, too direct, too frenetic), and decided to do better in the second half. And so they did.
Of course, part of the reason we were so poor in the first half was that Juanita was exceptionally organized. Their offsides trap caught us 7 times, which is rare to find in high school soccer because the trap takes significant training to do well, and typically requires a settled back four that are experienced in playing with each other. So full credit to Juanita. They had a great game plan, and it worked for long stretches, especially in the first half.
But in the 2nd half we also just played better. We were more patient. We were more composed in our trapping and passing. We were crisper going forward, and battled with more intensity on defense. We woke up. Realized the molasses wasn't real but just a figment of an active teenage imagination, and got back to what we do well: simple, quick passes that stretch defenses until an opportunity to go through, or around, the opposing backlne presents itself.
With no signs of the molasses that was to come, the game actually started brightly. In the 4th minute. Hinana's wizardry on the ball was in full display, She took a quick turn and dribble deep in midfield, then sent a perfect diagonal pass through the heart of the Juanita defense that unlocked Mia on the left wing. Mia cut-back and crossed to Leah who took a touch to settle before calmly passing the ball into the net with her right foot. Brilliant team goal. Of course, it took us until the 54th minute to add another (see above), but it was worth the wait. Our more composed 2nd half play earned us a corner, and Maddy curled a perfect kick directly into the goal. Yes, she did that. And it was no fluke, but a perfectly hit curling ball that looked destined for the net as soon as she hit it. Well done Maddy. And in the 72nd minute we put the game to bed. We had moved Lily into midfield to give some much-needed rest to our workhorses in the middle, and she promptly threaded a perfect ball through the Juanita defense, freeing Mia to go alone against the Raven keeper. Shoulder dip. Keeper frozen. And a calm finish into an empty net to finally finish the game off in style.
Next week we play our first home games of the Kingco season against Interlake on Tuesday, and Hazen on Thursday, both at 7:30pm. I'm hopeful that our dreams will be nothing but upper corner goals, ball-winning tackles and lots of high fives until then.
Highlights. Sabrina made her season debut and was excellent in goal. Well done Sabrina. We are blessed with two very talented senior goalkeepers. Sophomores had a night: goals by Leah, Maddy and Mia were the difference...well done class of 2025.