Most athletic pursuits have an element of risk. And part of coaching is training a team how to mitigate or manage the inherent risk in a competitive contest: when to dribble, when to pass, how to properly head the ball, how to go into a tackle safely, how to physically train to be as fit as we can be to safeguard against injuries; however, risk is risk. And risk mitigation doesn't mean that certain outcomes can't or don't occur. So seeing Lenora go down after less than 10 minutes was heartbreaking, a sad outcome that sometimes happens in the sport we love. We don't know the final diagnosis (we pray for the best), but I do know that regardless, Lenora will do whatever it takes to recover with enthusiasm and strength of spirit. And I sincerely hope that her healing process is measured in days rather than weeks.The other side of any injury is that one of our substitutes needs to come on and do the job. The role of a substitute is difficult. Every player wants to play, but some players will inevitably play more than others and keeping focused and ready when your name isn't on the start-sheet can be mentally challenging. A substitute's role is to be ready, stay positive, because you never know when your name will be called. And so Isabelle came on when Lenora went down, and did the job magnificently. No visible nerves, just strong, competent and stylish defending at left back. Well done Isabelle. Overall, the game versus Holy Names was mixed. After the predictable chaos of the first 15-20 minutes when we tried to fit an entire game of running into just a few minutes, both teams settled down and began to string together good combinations of passes. However, chances were few. Both defenses were organized, athletic and stingy. But in the 21st minute, our first real chance gave us a 1-0 lead as Claire sent a dangerous diagonal ball behind the Holy Names defense and CarlieG blocked the center back's attempted clearance and poked the rebound home at the near post. It was a goal of pressure, effort and opportunistic finishing by Carlie G. The remainder of the half was contested at midfield, with very few good opportunities at either end until the referee awarded what I thought was a very soft penalty in the last seconds of added injury time. From my view, Schuyler made a fair and strong challenge, won the ball, and the HNA forward fell over from the contact. But my opinion doesn't count, only the referee's, and the half ended 1-1. We played better in the second half, controlling midfield and outshooting HNA. We tested the Holy Names keeper from distance, we earned corners, we created good chances, we hit the crossbar and had a chance to win it with a flurry in the last five minutes, but it wasn't to be. And to be fair, Annika had two big saves to make in the second half from two very threatening HNA chances, and our goalie bravely met the challenge to keep the game knotted at 1-1. And so it ended in a dreaded tie, a result that leaves both teams slightly disappointed and thinking about what might have been. Next week we begin our Kingco title defense with games against Sammamish and Redmond. We were good against HNA, but we will need to be better to defend our title. Varsity Highlights:Our team defense was solid. Lenora, Isabelle, Caylee, Sky and Claire were organized and provided good cover for each other. Mia & Ellie both came on late to close out a nervy last few minutes and did their jobs well. AnaJ & CarlyT provided distribution and central midfield steel in defense. While Joelle was seemingly everywhere up front, chasing down HNA defenders and wreaking havoc everywhere she roamed. Court, AnnaB, Del and Carlie were dangerous going forward and combined well, and Izzy gave us valuable minutes up front as she comes back from an ankle injury suffered during our pre-season; of course, our team fitness needs to be better, too many girls went down late in the game with cramp. Every player needs to be fit enough to give 80minutes plus an additional 10 if we go into overtime, and we aren't there yet.Program Notes:Overall, it was a great afternoon for BHS girls soccer. Our JVC team turned on the style in a comprehensive 4-0 victory that included what I thought was the most beautiful sequence of soccer from all three games: 5-6 one-touch passes through our midfield as the ball moved quickly and skillfully from player to player. Beautiful. Our JV team played a very competitive and even game against their Holy Names counterparts. After HNA scored an excellent opening goal, CarlyB equalized midway through the second half, and two freshman combined to win it for Bellevue with just a few minutes left: Audrey crossing to ElleJ for the winning goal and a 2-1 final margin. Great drama. And a good win against a worthy opponent. Well done JVC and JV.