Bellevue 1-0 Lake Washington
What. a. game. We have tremendous respect for the LW team. They are tough, talented and have quality and pace at almost every position on the field. It's a pleasure to coach against such quality opponents, but even more fun to play against them. But as much as we respect the Kangs, we didn't fear them. I love our team. I love our spirit and the girls' support for each other. We trusted our togetherness to stay composed, to stay organized, cover each other when necessary, and to continue to play possession soccer thorough our midfield and up-and-down our formation.
Although probably not a thrilling game for the neutral fan (6 shots for the LW [only 1 shot in the first half with the balance in the 2nd half), and 5 shots for BHS in total), it was a game for soccer purists who like hard-nosed, competitive and very tactically astute soccer with players from both sides exhibiting plenty of flair, technical ability and the occasional crunching tackle, but without many clear chances for either side. In short, it was a game between two teams with aspirations that go way beyond an early-season Kingco league match-up.
Not surprisingly, for a game that was an absolute battle in midfield, it was a set-piece that determined the outcome. Hinana earned a free kick from 35yards away, a distance in which we usually encourage a cross into a dangerous area...but given the rainy-slick conditions, and Audrey's ability to hit a thunderous ball, we decided to take a chance from distance. And Audrey made her chance count with a perfect free kick that found the upper left corner of the goal in the 55th minute. It was a free kick of the highest quality from our junior captain. Worthy of a game-winner.
Although when scoring in the 55th minute against a good opponent, we knew that the game still had a long long way to go before we earned anything real in the standings. The overall team effort in the last 25 minutes was immense. Did LW have chances? Of course they did, they are a good team. But our defenders were stout and tireless, our goalkeeper (Ashley in 2nd half) made an incredible save at the back post, and we did a very good job of finishing the game off in the last 8-10 minutes with smart, disciplined and tactically-clever soccer.
Next week doesn't get any easier as we play TWO defending state champions in one week. First up is back-to-back 2A state champions Liberty at home on Tuesday. Then we travel to Gig Harbor for a triple header against the defending 3A state champs. Both teams will test our resolve and ability. So please take every opportunity to rest our deservedly weary legs. There were more than 1/2 dozen BHS girls tonight who I know weren't feeling their best (the 2nd and 3rd weeks of school are always a challenge as every sickness, flu and head-cold gets swapped around campus). So please take care of yourself so that we are as healthy as possible next week. Rest. Sleep. Drink lots of liquids (um, water please). Eat well. And get ready for a big week of soccer.
255 minutes of shutout soccer to begin our season so far. For context, at this point last year we had conceded 12 goals. Goals win games, shutouts win championships. Long may it continue (for even more context, as a program, we have been very stingy: the JV has played 4 games, scored 14 and allowed only a single goal; and our C-team has played 4, scored 8 and allowed zero goals. So what I'm saying, is that in 11.5 games across our program, we have allowed a single goal...that's just impressive, and I hope every girl in the program feels pride of ownership for that statistic).; Ashley & Izzy. Awesome goalkeeping so far. They are making each other better. More broadly, our sorority of keepers have each others back throughout the program. I'd like to give a shout-out to freshman GK Amirah, who, due to an injury to our regular JV keeper Bailey, had to start both games with the JV team this week. Two shut-outs. And all Sabrina did with C-team in Amirah’s absence was shut-out 4A power-house Skyline on Wednesday. I love our GK sorority, they have each other's back; I'd like to give some kudos to Ava Bede too...Ava has had a terrific start to her varsity career, but had a few loose passes against Interlake that we highlighted during our Wednesday practice session. the coaching point was that everybody makes a technical error now and again on the soccer field, but it's how we react to it, and how we support our teammates after errors that define a team culture, and define a players character. So what did Ava do after she was the unlucky example in my video coaching point on Wednesday: simply play her best game of the season vs. LW. LW's left winger is a quality player, quick, technical and physical, and Ava locked her down all night while also repeatedly covering for her teammates on the back line. She was fantastic. Well done Ava. So proud of how you responded; the "12s" were great again: Imme, Kennedy & Kaatje all gave quality minutes off the bench, lifting our team when we needed fresh legs.