Bellevue 5-1 Hazen
3rd min Amy (Mia)
20th min Saleen (Kaitlyn)
37th min Alex (Maddy) corner
43rd min Gaby PK
77th min Lillian (Mia)
78th min Hazen goal
Winning can be a habit. And the opposite is true too. So I was particularly interested in how our team would rebound from our game against Skyline. And it took less than three minutes into our game against Hazen for us to bounce in the right direction. We spoke a lot this week about simplifying our possession game, playing quickly to rotate the ball into less congested spaces where we have speed advantages. And so I loved our first goal. Nora won the ball deep in our end, turned, and played a simple two-touch ball to Saleen's feet as she moved upfield. Then Saleen made a first-time pass to MIa's feet on the wing and we were flying forward. Mia beat her defender on the dribble and fired a shot that the Hazen keeper could only parry, and Amy was in the perfect place at the perfect time to finish into the open net. So simple. So quick. The ball shifted from side to side with precision and pace, a calm finish, and we were leading 1-0.
In the 20th minute, we scored another great team goal. Mia won the ball deep in the Hazen and dropped a pass underneath to Saleen who patiently rotated the ball back to Gaby, across to Kaitlyn, and back to Saleen in midfield. A simple triangle. And due to our good balance, patience, and spacing, the Hazen backline was spread wider than they might've wanted, and Saleen charged into the gap and finished to the lower right side of the goal. 2-0 Bellevue.
Our third goal came from a corner kick that coach Payton had designed and installed earlier in the week. We got the coverage we wanted from the Hazen defense, Maddy signaled to Alex, and seconds later the Hazen goalkeeper was picking the ball from the back of the net after a super-smash. 3-0 Bellevue at halftime.
Our fourth came just minutes into the second half from some great individual play from Lillian, Our striker twisted her defender into knots on the right wing allowing her to get goal-side inside the penalty box and running directly at the keeper, which is a terrible position to be in as a defender...so it wasn't a surprise to see a desperate attempt to tackle which resulted in our first PK of the season. Gaby stepped up and dispatched a perfect PK. 4-0 Bellevue.
We used the rest of the game to work on our formational flexibility, shifting into an alternate shape that should help us in future games. To Hazen's credit, they never ever gave up. They continued to battle and challenge for every loose ball, and although we maintained the majority of the possession, we were forced to work hard for it. Hazen will surprise Kingco opponents this year if they keep up that tenacity and determination. Our final goal came from a delightful cross from Mia on the left wing, perfectly weighted to a charging Lillian who volleyed cleanly on goal, the Hazen keeper reflex-blocked, but the rebound spilled just on the goal line where Lillian nicked ahead of Raina to finish. 5-0 Bellevue.
A minute later we conceded. Sigh. It was the second shot we had allowed in the game which gives the Highlanders a very attractive conversion rate. And a good lesson for us on keeping our concentration all the way to the final whistle. Not surprisingly, the overall statistics were heavily in our favor: 20/4 to 2/1 shots/corners. I like our chances if we continue to create good goal-scoring chances while limiting our opponents' opportunities. it's a good formula that I hope we continue.
Tomorrow we have our third game of the week against non-conference Bainbridge, current leaders in the Olympic League. It will be Bainbridge's third game too, so both teams will need to persevere past weary legs. A year ago, we made the ferry trip and played a very tight and competitive game that we narrowly won 1-0. So I expect another good test for our team. After Bainbridge, we have a full week before we resume Kingco league play with a trip to another, more local, island. But we'll focus on one island-based team at a time, and at the moment, we are looking forward to welcoming our visitors from Bainbridge.
Winning can be a habit.
Here's to building healthy habits.