Every fairy tale season needs a win like we earned tonight: a wet, gritty, tough rivalry game that hinges on a single moment of utmost quality. It wasn't always pretty, and for the second game in a row, we struggled to create our usual avalanche of clear scoring chances, but by the final whistle, we had done enough to eek out a 1-0 win against our Islander rivals.And it felt really good. The game was characterized by hard tackling, slick turf, and more hard tackling. And rain. Lots and lots of rain. Midwest rain. Not normal NW misty rain. But sheets of water falling from the sky. Certainly a game that is more fun to play than to watch. At least the wind had the decency to stay away. As we discovered the first time we played MI, the Islanders play a 4-4-2 diamond formation that packs the middle of the field and dares opponents to beat them with quick switches to advancing fullbacks. Paige, Nikole, Catie and Priya had lots of space to operate when we surged forward, but we struggled to find the final pass to unlock MI's last four defenders. Some of this was an intentional tactical stalemate. We asked our wingers to tuck inside to neutralize MI's narrow diamond in their attempt to win the middle. Admittedly, this is a more conservative approach (we could've pushed our wingers higher and gambled a bit that our three midfielders could control their four), but we trusted that player-for-player, our quality in the central scrum of midfield would eventually earn us the points. Fortunately, what looked like a likely midfield stalemate changed quickly to check-mate in the 76th minute with one glorious move. In another dramatic finish that was reminiscent to our early win versus Holy Names, we scored with just a few minutes left from a wondrous goal from Kiley Suter. Kiley picked up the ball from 30yds out (from Grace? Sophie? Carly? I'm not sure who earned the assist), beat two defenders on the dribble and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the upper left corner of the goal. Pandemonium on the sidelines and in the stands. Fairy tale ending indeed. Highlights:Our defense was resolute on a difficult night of wet deflections and skipping bounces. Madi was excellent again in goal, racing off her line when necessary, and staying back to field fly balls when MI attempted hit hopeful long-range balls; Our midfielders did their job, staying organized and connected; as did our wingers, who sacrificed some attacking risk-taking for a more conservative approach to the game. Sometimes a win requires a forward assault, and sometimes it requires defensive discipline. I'm glad that we have players that can do both.It was our 5th shutout in our last six games. We finished the week in first place in Kingo with four games remaining. None as important as our next against Lake Washington, who currently sit in 2nd place a mere two points behind the Wolverines. LW has scored 23 goals in their last 5 games, all convincing wins. The result of our game next Tuesday will likely determine the league crown and top seeding. I can't wait until then. Rest up and enjoy your three-day weekend.