Bellevue 3-0 Mercer Island
Despite very chilly and slippery conditions in which the ball took difficult hops and skips all night, our team concluded our regular season in style with a solid 3-0 victory at Mercer Island. The game began like most Bellevue-MI clashes, a bit frenetic for both sides with more emphasis on tough tackling than quick-passing possession; however, the game settled down midway through the half and shortly thereafter we had the lead from a corner. Ally hit a perfect ball to the far post where Julia calmly powered a header past the MI keeper for a 1-0 lead. We continued to apply pressure and probe for more goals, but the MI keeper is experienced and made several fine saves to deny us a quick second score. But there was little she could do in the 39th minute, as Kate Durrell slipped a ball out wide to Court, who juked two defenders with a stutter step and cut then fired a fierce shot that the keeper could only parry wide...to where Rebekah was waiting to emphatically smash into the back of the open net. 2-0 Bellevue on the stroke of halftime. And the perfect time for Rebekah to open her varsity goal-scoring account.
The game was put to bed in the first four minutes of the second half as Hinana weaved her way through the box before cutting back a cross to Kennedy who finished smartly for our winning 3-0 margin. The remainder of the game was chippy as rivalry games can sometimes be. But not dirty. Just determined tackling and hard-nosed play from both teams, with a few late challenges on both sides. The referee and I even got the opportunity to share our opinions on how we saw a few of those late challenges differently, but in the end, the final whistle signaled the end of a comprehensive Bellevue win against our long-time rival.
After a brief wobble in the middle, our season finished strongly, with 4 consecutive wins in which we outscored our opponents 13-1, with three shutouts. For the season, we had 11 goal-scorers and 12 players contribute at least a point. All good statistics as we head into playoff elimination games. However, statistics don't win games, players do. And it will take our best performances to achieve the objectives we share for this team.
Next step is an away game versus Lake Washington on Tuesday at 7pm for the Kingco tournament championship, and more importantly, an automatic bid to State. Our focus from this moment until late on Tuesday will be on Lake Washington. We'll cover future scenarios and logistics once that game is complete.
For the first time since I've been coaching at Bellevue, every player got to play in every game in which they were available for selection. Of course, minutes weren't equal, and in some cases time was very limited; but we did our best to spread the minutes throughout the team. That won't always be the case in post-season. And although I understand that can be frustrating, it is even more important for our entire roster to be ready if they are called upon...if you want practical evidence, ask Kaatje about her freshman year appearance in the state championship game. Be ready.
JVC & JV Kingco League Champions
I wrote about this last week, but just to confirm and congratulate every player and coach with our JVC and JV teams. Well done. The future is very bright for Bellevue soccer.