Bellevue 3-0 Liberty
8th min Alex (Halle)
9th min Bekah (Nova)
56th min Nova (Lily)
How it started:
Six weeks ago we began our season at Stadium High School, one of the coolest stadiums in the state (country?) on a bright sunny day with the Puget Sound as a glorious backdrop. We won convincingly, 2-0.
How it's going:
Twelve games later we got to compete in another cool stadium at Liberty, but instead of bright warm sunshine and the Puget Sound, we got a damp dark rainy night with slick turf and clouds that seemed to touch the ground. This was the re-match from our first game against Liberty. The Patriots most likely felt they let that game slip away when a last-minute Bellevue goal overturned an early 0-2 Liberty lead and we narrowly won 3-2... but last night wasn't narrow. Flipping the script, our team jumped out to our own quick 2-0 early lead, had several chances to score more, and defended well to post a comprehensive 3-0 win.
Liberty is one of the most skillful teams in our conference. They play a beautiful brand of possession soccer. And there is a reasonable chance we may face them again in the Kingco playoffs depending on how the final two weeks unfold. So we can be proud of our win last night, but hopefully we'll stay humble and hungry for more if we have to play the Patriots again for even higher stakes early next month.
It was one of our best starts to a game all season as from the opening whistle we passed quickly and confidently all over the field. So it wasn't a surprise that in the 8th minute, we forced a turn-over, transitioned quickly, and Halle squared to Alex to lash a first-time shot into the upper corner. 1-0. And it got better, as one minute later, our patient press forced another deep turn-over, this time with Nova sliding the ball wide to Bekah, who cut back inside and finished at the near post with a helpful deflection from one of the Liberty defenders. And finally, in the 56th minute, we got our third as Nova showed great predatory instincts, pressing the Liberty goalkeeper into a mistake from a speculative lob into the box from Lily. Nova was there in a flash and poked the ball home for our winning margin.
Our defense was as good as it's been all year, with everyone playing anticipatory "front foot" defending, winning entry passes and getting hard into tackles to keep Liberty from developing any kind of rhythm. The game statistics were comfortably in our favor: 15/2 shots/corners to 7/2 for Liberty. And at least 3 of those Liberty shots were in one dangerous flurry deep in the second half, the rest were long-range efforts that never really troubled Amirah in goal. But it should never be just our goalkeeper and defenders that get credit with a shutout (although they were all awesome), because this game was won because of the disiplined and patient defending that our strikers, wingers and midfielders provided upfield. Shutouts require tireless and coordinated defending from all 11, not just from players with a "D" next to their name in the program.
Now for some program housekeeping: the entire coaching staff appreciates all of the support we get from our parents and friends in the stands, and our recent games have been very exciting, however, we did get reports last night that during our JV game we may have gotten over-exuberant. Let’s all take a pause and remember that the performers in our weekly dramas are 14-18 year old teenagers with referees that are doing the best they can. Bad calls happen. Hard tackles happen. And sometimes opposing fans or parents might say things that are wildly inappropriate. Don't take the bait. Please respect that it’s the coach’s responsibility to manage this part of the game. Let’s keep our support of our girls exactly that: supportive. Positive. And not allow ourselves to get into inappropriate verbal jousting with opposing players, referees or the other sidelines/fans. Remember, what we do is the most important, of the least important things in the world.
Finally, apparently, it's homecoming weekend. The performance against Liberty was so good that we gave the girls the Friday off to enjoy being a teenager beyond the soccer field. If you are going to the festivities on either Friday or Saturday night, have fun. Enjoy. Laugh a lot. But perhaps take a brief moment to remember where we have been as a team so far, and where we want to go. And don't be afraid to sing loudly and sing confidently, (but unlike Heath, don't get detention)
Next week we travel back to Renton to play Hazen on Tuesday, before playing our only Friday Night Lights game of the season at Interlake.
4 games left in our Kingco Season. FTJ.