Bellevue 3-0 Sammamish
We've had a run of beautiful fall days over the last week, and similarly, our team has had a run of beautiful performances on the soccer field. OK, maybe not always beautiful, but certainly effective. Our first winning streak of the season is currently at a modest two games, but we'll take it. We started very brightly against the Totems directly from the kick-off. IzzyB put a perfect ball into space on the right wing, and our re-positioned CB / winger, Claire applied the pressure and we earned a throw in deep in Sammamish territory. A few passes later we had our first shot, setting the tone for the first phase of the game. In fact, if not for an avalanche of offsides (7 in the first half alone), and a few wasteful attempts on goal, the game would've been secure within the first 20 minutes; instead, Sammamish began to slowly get back into the game, especially down their left wing where their speedy forward got behind our defense several times and caused problems with her energy and pace. Just when it seemed like we had given up all our early momentum, AnnaB slid an inch-perfect pass through the Totem's defense for AllyS to take a great first touch and then slide a composed second touch past the very capable Sammamish goalkeeper in the 25th minute. Both AnnaB & Ally had come onto the field as substitutes just minutes before, and significantly changed the game for the better for their team. Well done AnnaB & AllyS.
The half ended with Bellevue territorial dominance, but statistically we weren't creating enough chances (6 shots, 3 corners and 7 offsides vs. 4 shots and a corner for SHS). The 2nd half was tighter on defense, we allowed only two long-range attempts on goal (and a very dangerous corner that IssyS did well to punch clear), and we created significantly more chances (13 total shots, 9 on goal); but despite the statistical improvement, we somehow lost our ball-possession mojo. Consequently, the 2nd half was disjointed and messy and sometimes seemed like a tennis match where the game is stuck at deuce from a frustratingly long series of double faults from both players. However, the good news is that we eventually found our forehand smash in the 51st, Claire beating her defender on the right wing and crossing to the near post where Grace was exactly where she should be, poking home to give us a more comfortable two goal lead. Then in the dying embers of the game in the 86th minute, Kaia made a strong run down the right wing towards goal and unselfishly passed across to an unmarked Grace for a tap-in and 3-0 final margin. In fact, Audrey really should have had goal no4 in the last minute of the game from a beautiful 40yard shot, but Grace was judged unfairly to have fouled the keeper earlier in the sequence. But no matter, it was a strong win. And even if we were a bit sloppy a times, we have our first winning streak of the season. Onward.
Good shutout for our keepers Isabelle & IssyS, who went long periods without seeing the ball but then had to stay sharp for a few critical nervy moments in each half. Similarly, our backline of Kaatje, Claire, Zoe, Julia and Court were solid. We are a much more dangerous team when our FBs (Court, Kaatje & Claire vs SHS) get forward on overlapping runs and we did a good job of this all night vs SHS; our rotating midfield of IzzyB, Halle, Kendall, Audrey and AnnaB were organized and worked hard all night, and our up-field brigade of Malena, Grace, Claire, IzzyB, Kaia, AllyS, Taylor put constant pressure on the Totem defense and created several chances.
Finally, our thoughts and prayers are with Delaney this morning as she gets surgery to remove her appendix. In an act of ultimate toughness, Del attended the Sammamish game before going to urgent care immediately afterwards and being diagnosed with acute appendicitis with surgery scheduled for the next morning (today). I will never complain about the sniffles ever again. Get well soon Del.