Bellevue 9-0 Interlake
10th min Camille (Raina)
19th min Nora (unassisted)
27th min Alex (Leah)
35th min Leah (Amber)
36th min Mia (Gaby)
37th min Alex (Leah)
51st min Saleen (Raina)
65th min Lily (Gaby)
69th min Gaby (Lexi)
When we lived in the UK, one of my favorite British TV shows was Q.I. ("Quite Interesting"), a panel show that presents quirky interesting facts to a bunch of comedians who riff and react. Yeah, it's an acquired taste. One of the facts I recall was about unusual words in English that are their own antonyms (also called contronyms): a word that can be used for one meaning, and also the opposite meaning. For instance, the word "fast" can refer to the physical speed of our attacking players (Alex is fast), but can also mean stopping something from moving (to hold fast). Oddly, I thought of this during our game against Interlake as I asked the team to play quickly but with patience, or to simplify our passing so that we could execute more complicated combinations, and, I actually asked them to play hard but not go into any risky tackles (the very definition of a contradictory task). I often tell the team that I want greedy forwards willing to shoot on sight of goal, but then I plead for more disguised and unselfish passing in our attack when we force low-probability chances from long-range.
I know, I know. It's a lot of cognitive dissonance.
But coaches trade in mixed messages. Soccer, like life, can be complicated, and sometimes only opposites can capture what we are trying to achieve.
On a rare Friday night game, and even rarer 6:30 kick-off, our girls got the message. When we play quickly (with patience), and simplify our passing (with complex off-the ball running), and are greedily generous in front of goal, our offensive firepower is the best I've had at Bellevue during my entire tenure. We are pretty good when we play as 11 individuals, but we are unstoppable when we play as a team. And on Friday, we were an unstoppable team. It was a 9-0 final score. But the score to me was irrelevant (we did our best to downshift in the 2nd half without disrespecting our opponents), it was the quality of our goals and build-up play that was so encouraging and beautiful. It started in the 10th minute with a triangle of passes between Amy, Nora and then back to Raina, who crossed intelligently on a diagonal to Camille at the back post to finish. 1-0 Bellevue. In the 19th minute, Raina provided a simple but effective square ball to Nora, who turned her defender and smashed a 25-yard shot to the far corner of the net. 2-0 Bellevue. Glorious goal. In the 27th min, Leah took an entry pass from Amber, headed it past the last defender, and raced towards goal before firing a shot that the keeper could only parry directly to Alex who tapped in from 6yards. 3-0 Bellevue.
And we were flying. So much so that the next sequence of three goals was scored in less than a minute of actual playing time. In the 35th minute the barrage began. Leah took another great entry pass from Amber and fired a shot from 30 yards that beat the keeper for power and height. 4-0 Bellevue, And then, directly from the Interlake long kick-off, Gaby took the ball out of the air with a first-time pass to Mia who was 65 yards away from the Saints goal, deep in our half. Ten seconds later the ball was in the back of the net as Mia ran straight past 4 shocked Interlake defenders to score our fifth. 5-0 Bellevue. And less than 30 seconds after that, after we won the ball from another Interlake kick-off, we possessed the ball across our defense and midfield before Leah hit a wonderful diagonal entry pass (diagonal pass = straight run, or diagonal run = straight pass) and Alex ran past the Saints backline before scoring. Devastating. 6-0 when less than a minute earlier it had been 3-0. Merciful halftime.
For the balance of the game we rotated roles, with defenders in attack (Amber at left wing, E Duke at striker!), and attacking players in defense (Lillan at CB!!) and worked on possession. The second half saw Saleen score in the 51st minute from Raina (3rd assist of the night!!!), Lily added another in the 65th minute from a nifty give-and-go with Gaby, before Lexi crossed from the right wing to Gaby on the left, and our senior center-back finished off the scoring with a very tidy goal. 9-0 final. Whew. Other than the overall quality of our passing and finishing, I was especially impressed with how we used Emilie at goalkeeper to relieve pressure and maintain possession with good back-passing, and I couldn't have been happier for goalkeeper Lexi to add an assist to her name on the scoresheet when she played at right wing.
It was a comprehensive performance against a team that earned a point against Mercer Island just last week. But Interlake caught us on one of our best overall performances of the season; and it became more difficult for the Saints after one of their players suffered an injury during warm-ups. But again, we were excellent in all phases. Eight total goal-scorers and 11 players were on the scoresheet. When we play as a team, we are unstoppable. Opponents might neutralize one player, but if we are unselfish and making unselfish runs for the team, the other ten will make you pay dearly for it.
Our next Kingco game is on Tuesday away at Hazen. 7:30 kick-off at Renton Memorial Stadium.
I expect our offense to be fast, and our defense to hold fast.