Bellevue 2-0 Liberty
23rd min Anna (Calla)
74th min Calla (Kasia, Riley)
Soccer is a funny game. Every single game is completely different from the next. Yes, we try and play a similar style each game; possession, fast, clinical. But opponents, weather, moods, etc dictate a lot and with high school girls, you never quite know what you are going to get from game to game. It’s the nature of the game and one of the things I like most about coaching.
On Saturday versus Mercer Island we played some compelling soccer and played the way we strive to attain up and down this program. Well, in comes league-leading Liberty Tuesday night and it was a totally different game from the weekend. We started the game very flustered and frantic as Liberty, as they always do, pressed hard, attacked the ball and connected passes up and down the field. They dominated possession and we were left to chase the ball.
Wait, what? Isn’t that how we want to play? It was like watching one of our games only we were on the wrong end.
It took us a good 20 minutes before we finally settled in and got ahold of the ball. Liberty likes to knock the ball around the back and then launch a long ball they can play off and attack. Once we figured it out, we were in good shape. Our defense snuffed out numerous counterattacks before they got dangerous and our front line started pressing their centerbacks before they could send a ball up field.
It was on one of those pressures that led to our first goal. Kasia and Calla pressured the Patriots left back and forced her to cough up the ball. Calla pounced on the loose ball, took a touch and sent a hard cross that skipped past a defender and landed at Anna’s feet. From there, our leading goal scorer, settled the ball nicely and powered a shot past the world’s tallest goalkeeper. Ok, a slight exaggeration but she is really tall and made some very nice saves on the day.
The goal seemed to relieve a little pressure for us and we saw more possession and made our way to halftime. At the break we talked mainly about increasing our effort, keeping our composure and knocking the ball around.
The second half was slightly better but still a little sloppy for my taste. Lots of bouncing passes, loose ball handling and a little too much dribbling. Pass and move, pass and move.
Liberty was never really dangerous in our end on the night but for some reason the game did not feel secure with just a 1-0 score line. In a tight game like this, despite us having the upper hand, one mistake, one miscue could lead to the tying goal. So we, probably more me, were a little nervous and we unfortunately turned to kick-ball to relieve pressure. Never a good philosophy when trying to finish out a game.
But much to our relief, a long ball out of the back from Riley skipped past Kasia’s defender and sent her running toward goal. She deftly took the ball to the end line and expertly cut a hard, low cross to the middle where Calla was waiting for a one-touch finish to secure the match. Whew.
If you look at the stats, we were dominate but for some reason it just didn’t feel that way. We outshot Liberty 15/1 and allowed just two corner kicks. We had a season-high 27 blocks. It is a new stat we’ve been keeping which helps us track who is working hard on defense and preventing passes and shots. Tonight, Riley led the team with 9 blocks. Nice effort.
We travel to rival Lake Washington on Thursday which promises to be another compelling league match. Who knows what we’ll get. Be there.