Bellevue 0 - 5 Seattle Prep
On a perfect day for soccer, our competitive triple-header with Metro League powerhouse Seattle Prep ended with a dull thud as our varsity team was given a lesson in humility and polished soccer. The past two seasons we have knocked Seattle Prep out of the state tournament in the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively, so the Panthers had plenty of motivation to put in a good performance. And they did. They are an undeniably good team, but it didn't help that after only 6 minutes we gifted Prep an easy goal from a simple finish from 10yards out. The next 15 minutes were simply a lesson in flowing attacking soccer and tough tackling as Prep turned on the class and scored 3 very good team goals in quick succession to take a commanding 4-0 lead before we got to the mid-way point of the first half. Not exactly how we wanted to begin our first 20 minutes of the season. However, we eventually settled down and although the final score isn't flattering, we began to show promising flashes of the quality I know we have in our team.
We scheduled Prep as one of our non-conference games knowing that we were going to get one of the most talented teams in the state--Prep not only returned 10 starters from their Metro league champion and state quarter-final team a year ago, but added 4 more "Academy" players who chose to play high school soccer instead of DA for their final season. So we knew the test would be difficult. However, our program will always strive to be the best, and to play the best teams we can in our non-conference schedule. And if the results don't go our way, we need to take as many lessons as we can from the outcome so that we can eventually match and exceed the highest standard. Some lessons were tough: early in the game we were sloppy in our possession, woeful in set-pieces, and made several nervous defensive challenges. We will fix that. But some lessons were more encouraging: our 2nd half was much much better as we limited Prep to just three shots on goal vs our 4 shots, and finally got some possession parity in midfield. Our freshmen midfielders, Halle & Kendall, both played well in the 2nd half in their high school varsity debuts; and although exposed early on, our defensive back line of Claire, Court, Zoe, Kaatje & Malena battled all night and never ever gave up or failed to chase and challenge Prep's dangerous forwards. Up front, Audrey, Kaia, IzzyB and Del all grew into the game as the spaces opened up and we began to link passes in the second half. AllyS & Taylor both gave us a spark off the bench. Our keepers were busy all night, and Isabelle and IssyS were solid, giving no gifts while enduring steady pressure. Most importantly, even as it was clear that the game was out-of-reach, our girls never quit and battled to the very last tackle in the very last minute of the game. That competitive spirit and resiliency needs to be the bedrock of any team, and our girls passed a very difficult character test when it would've been easy to hang their heads during the wrong end of a blow-out loss.
And so we move onwards.
On Saturday, we host another very challenging triple-header against the visiting Gig Harbor Tides. Like Prep, Gig Harbor is a pre-season favorite to challenge for a state title and therefore we will need to take our lessons from yesterday and be even better prepared for our next test.
Congratulations to our JV and JVC teams who beat Prep 3-2 and tied 2-2 respectively. Both games were tightly contested and very entertaining. Four freshmen scored their first Bellevue goals (Chloe & Rebekah for JV, Hannah & Gisele for JVC) with Rachel opening the scoring for the JV side with a very classy and composed finish. So despite the tough varsity loss, the program had some very bright performances.