BHS 3-1 Stadium
1st min Lillian (Mia)
25th min Lillian (Mia)
38th min Leah (Lillian)
Last week I had the privilege of taking my eldest daughter to her first year in college. During the many speeches and ceremonies designed to calm parents that their young adult children would survive their freshmen year, the President of the university implored the students to "lift as you climb," quoting the 19th century Sufferagette and co-founder of the NACW, Mary Church Terrell. Now, I understand that borrowing a slogan that was used galvanize the right to vote 100 years ago for lessons during a girls high school season in Belleuve runs the risk of conflating things that are very important, with things that are significantly less so; but I believe that the idea stands on it's own, for things important, and less so. Lift as you climb.
So on a special evening that marked the beginning of the 2022 girls soccer season, my favorite memory was made before a single ball was kicked. We have a sorority of goalkeepers. Players from all three teams who are brave specialists, throwing their bodies in front of charging opponents and rocket-like shots every day. They train together on Fridays with coach Imad and have their own cross-team bond. It's a small, but very special group. And last night, the starting JVC keeper had to miss the game versus Stadium which left our JVC team without a starting keeper. So the sorority stepped up to help. Our starting JV keeper Rebecca played a half of the JVC game, and our varsity keeper Sabrina played a half of the JV game. It meant that each keeper had a longer evening, and had to stay focused and ready across two games. It was a small sacrifice for side over self. And that's the spirit that I hope permeates throughout our program. When we need to cover for each other, we do. Side over Self. Lift as we climb. Thank you Emerson, Rebecca, Sabrina and Amirah. Our sorority is strong.
The actual game versus Stadium was a wonderful start to our season too. Although it required a bit of patience at the beginning as the Stadium varsity team bus never showed up, and their team had to scramble to make it to Bellevue Stadium arriving 10 minutes before kick-off. So we adjusted our warm-up, eliminated introductions, gave the visiting Tigers as much time as the referees would allow to get ready, and began our season 15 minutes later than planned. And we didn't have to wait long for our first goal of the season, less than 2 minutes into the game, Josie intercepted a wayward Stadium pass and fed Mia on the wing. Mia beat two defenders, got to the endline and cut back a cross that Lillian trapped and then fired home from close range to give us an early 1-0 lead. The quality of the cross was excellent, and the supporting runs into the box were perfectly spaced and timed. Then in the 25th minute we got a moment of collective deja vu, as Mia picked up another simple pass at midfield and beat her defender to the line before lofting a cross to the near post that Lillian headed home, 2-0 Bellevue. Again, the quality of the cross and finish was spectacular. Our first two goals were wonderful team moves, but my favorite was our third. With less than two mintues before halftime, Stadium had a routine goal kick and played the ball to their center-back. Lillian patiently waited for the initial pass to be made then launched herself at the centerback with relentless speed, winning the ball, beating the defender on the dribble then calmly squaring a cut-back pass for Leah who charged into the box in support and smashed home. 3-0 and the proverbial nail in the coffin. Lillian had an amazing night, 2 goals and an assist, but the tenacity she showed to create the third goal is something that doesn't show up in the statistics but is exactly how I want our team play: Ferocious defense followed by unselfish and precise passing. Well done Lillian.
Stadium got a goal late in the 65th minute against the run of play, but we maintained control of the pace of play and saw the game to conclusion, 3-1 final. The final stats reflect the balance of play, 16/4 shots/corners for Bellevue, vs. 7/3 for Stadium. A quality win against a very quality opponent.
Other Highlights: Amirah's spectacular save in the 16th minute, pushing an excellent shot onto the crossbar to keep our 1-0 lead. Wow. The game would've been signifcantly changed had Stadium tied at that moment...saving a goal is as important as scoring at goal; Our attacking players were exellent both going foward and harrassing Stadium defenders, Mia, Lillian, Leah, Cami, and Lexi all took turns applying pressure on the Tiger defenders both with, and without, the ball. Our midfield provided great balance, ball-winning and link-up play, well done Hinana, Emily, Kendall, Maddy and Leah. Finally, our back-line dealt with some very speedy Stadium forwards and kept our structure tight and (mostly) inpenetrable: Josie, Amber, Gaby, Arin, Lily, Lexi and Amirah. Well done.
Next we have a non-conference game against Bainbridge Island HS, the defending champion of the Olympic League. All three teams will take the ferry together on Thursday. It will be a long day (bring homework), but I'm looking forward to seeing all three teams in action again.
So it goes.