BHS 4-2 Mt. View
7th min Mia (leah)
37th min Leah (Lillian)
43rd min Mt view
47th min Leah (Mia)
65th min 4-1 Lillian (Emily)
68th min 4-2 Mt view
Welcome to HoCo week. With the Homecoming dance this weekend, I've learned from past seasons that sometimes keeping focused on soccer stuff can be more challenging. There are...distractions. However, our current varsity team seems to be able to balance a wonderful sense of fun with a sharp edge of competitiveness as soon as the opening whistle sounds. It's a great team trait. And so it was during our final non-conference game versus Greater St. Helens League leaders Mt. View High School. We laughed and chatted for a half a day in travel mode, then got down to business with a solid 4-2 victory.
But before we get to the game summary, allow me to answer the St. Helens-sized question in the room. Why did we drive 3 hours to play Mt. View (especially during HoCo week...).
Here's the logic: with only 7 teams in kingco 3A, we have two default BYE weeks during our league schedule. In years past, we have tried to find a competitive non-conf game to fill out our earlier BYE date, because it gives us an opportunity to fine-tune things and get a sense for relative strength of other leagues throughout the state. But it’s a challenging task to find another 3A team with a similar BYE date since league contests usually fill up everyone’s schedule. So we posted our open date on the WIAA website and crossed our fingers. And a week later we were pleased when Mt. View HS in Vancouver showed interest in scheduling during our BYE week. Vancouver teams are strong (Camas has won the state title in 4A several times) and Mt. View looks like they will compete to earn the State bid from the Greater St. Helens League. So we eagerly scheduled the game. Long road trips are instructional. And potentially prepares us for future trips if we qualify for the state tournament. But full mea culpa, I had no idea it was HoCo week when I scheduled this game.
So we made the trip. 3 easy hours to Vancouver. A warm 83 degrees at kick-off and both benches baking in the sun. And a firm and fast (very firm) turf stadium that made it difficult to play possession soccer. However, the girls embraced the challenges and played an excellent first half. In the 7th minute. Leah cut inside from the right wing and found her opposite winger, Mia, making a great diagonal run towards goal. Leah's entry pass was sublime and unlocked Mia for a 1v1 with the keeper which she poked home with style. 1-0 Bellevue. We continued to create good chances but couldn't find the final touch required until the 38th minute, when Lillian beat two defenders deep on the right side before cutting back a cross to Leah at the PK spot, Leah's first-time re-direction was excellent and we entered halftime with a 2-0 advantage.
We began the 2nd half as we ended: in the ascendancy with great possession. So it was a surprise to concede a goal against the run of play in the 45th minute as miscommunication in our backline gave Mt. View a way into the game. ("you clear it," "no, you clear it..." "no I insist, you clear it..." "no, no, you clear it this time..." ...until the Mt. View forward interrupted our conversation by putting the ball into our net). After a series of blowout wins, it was good to experience what it feels like to have a game narrow to a single goal in the second half. How would we respond? Very well, thank you. In the 55th minute, Mia broke down the left wing and send a perfect cross to the back post where Leah finished from the doorstep. And a few minutes later, Lillian had a carbon copy tap in at the back post from a well-taken corner from Emily. Coaches insist on strong back-post runs because the ball often finds its way there and who doesn't love a tap-in at the back post? The only other blemish was an uncharacteristic 2nd miscommunication in the midfield that led to another Mt. View goal, this time from 25yards out, and to be fair, the shot was well taken and left Sabrina little chance in goal. Fair play. But we squeezed the game in the final 10 minutes and kept the final score at 4-2. A good victory against a good team in which we had to deal with all the little unexpected challenges of a long road trip.
Highlights: Mt. View had two excellent chances in the first half that could've changed the game significantly, but we have Amirah in goal, so what could've been an equalizer looked like a comfortable save denying an upper corner goal. / Maddy scored another goal directly off of a corner in the 2nd half...however, it was called back on a dubious obstruction call. Regardless, it was another well-struck ball by Maddy. Our corners are dangerous. / Everyone played well on Tuesday but I'm going to give a little extra recognition to our senior captain, Hinana. Not only was she her extremely technical and competitive self during the game, gluing us together with calm, precise possession in the midfield...but before the game even started, as we were making our way to the locker room adjacent to the field, I noticed that a lone field operation staff was trying to clumsily move the game goals into position...until one of our players took the initiative and ran over to help him move the goal. See a problem, solve a problem. Even if it's not your problem. So proud to have Hinana on our team, not just for what she contributes as a player, but for who she is as a person.
Thursday we host Mercer Island. I repeat: we host Mercer Island on Thursday. 7:30 kick-off.
That's all the motivation we need. Bring on the Islanders.