Bellevue 7-0 LW
10th min Alex (Lillian)
35th min OG (Raina)
52nd min Mia (Leah)
61st min Saleen (Emily)
67th min Alex (Mia)
69th min Leah (Amy & Mia)
70th min Saleen (Amy)
Sequels don't always live up to the originals. Jaws, Blues Brothers, The Sting, and Caddyshack were all fun original films (very subjective opinion, and yes, I'm dating myself), but does anyone remember "Jaws 2: The Revenge?" Or even worse films like Blues Brothers 2, The Sting 2, and Caddyshack 2...of course not, all were terrible and embarrassing cash grabs. What I wanted on Saturday night in our long-awaited home game against Kingco rival and #6-ranked LW was a sequel worthy of our 1-0 win in the away fixture two weeks ago. Our original was a gritty, effective, tight team win; but LW has been undefeated since that game stringing together great results against MI and Liberty earlier this week. An LW win would effectively secure the Kangs the #1 seed in the Kingco championships, so there was much to play for.
I'm sure that LW was hoping to get a Jaws 2-quality Bellevue team in our return match; instead, they got a glorious blend of Godfather II, The Empire Strikes Back, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Our sequel was much much better than our original. We brought the "I'll be back," "I am your father," and "I know it was you Fredo." type of energy to our comprehensive 7-0 win on Saturday night (ask your parents...). The lead and supporting acting was superb with Oscar-worthy performances all over the field, the script was tight and well-rehearsed, the sound engineers were top-notch (thank you supporters, announcers, and especially the high school friends for the extra energy from the stands), and the cinematographer even surprised me by including an unexpected steady rain that gave the perfect NW mood as the setting.
The game began with total commitment from both teams. The early pace was exactly what you'd expect from two good sides trying to win a league title, pressure and quick all over the field. Every loose ball was challenged and aerial duels were frequent as both teams searched for imbalances to exploit. And in the 10th minute, we found an opening. From an LW free kick at midfield, Maddy won a header (this is a frequent theme in our sequel, we were very good in the air), Alex pounced on the 2nd ball with a directional header of her own to Lillian at midfield, Lillian one-touched a pass back to Alex and our senior captain took a direct route straight to goal weaving through three LW defenders from center circle to goal before poking a shot past the keeper. 1-0 Bellevue. Magnificent. Bravo. Then in the 35th minute, we added another. Alex began the movement with an excellent entry pass to Raina who had made a very clever diagonal run towards goal from the right wing, one touch to settle and the next to blast a shot that seemed destined for the top corner, but the LW keeper made a nice diving save...but only as far as the trailing Kang defender who accidentally knocked the ball into the open net. Own goal. But kudos to Alex and Raina for the pass, great run, and shot, and to Amy who pressured the Kang defender with her aggressive supporting run and would've easily scored had her defender not done it for her. 2-0 Bellevue at halftime.
Our halftime discussion was focused, joyful, and eager. LW had come from behind to defeat Liberty earlier this week, so we respected their resolve and pledged to bring the same energy for the second half. And we exceeded our expectations. We added our third in the 52nd minute, Leah won the ball at midfield and cut upfield on the dribble before making the most sublime, wonderous, and breath-taking entry pass to Mia who had made a diagonal run (another common theme from the night, our wingers' movement was superb) behind the LW backline, beat the keeper to the ball, touched it around her with speed and grace, then calmly slotted the biscuit in the basket. 3-0 Bellevue. In the next ten minutes, we added four more. Yes, four. In the 61st, Saleen took a simple ball from Emily at midfield, turned smoothly, and danced past two LW defenders before bouncing a shot past the keeper from 20yds. 4-0 Bellevue. A few minutes later we added our best team goal of the night, as we rotated the ball across the field with one and two-touches, Raina overlapped from right back (devastating) and crossed to Mia on the left wing. Mia spun her defender and cut-back for Alex to smash it past the keeper from 6 yards. It was a goal of selfless running, quick passing, confident crossing, and a tremendous finish. Nothing the keeper could do. 5-0 Bellevue. Two minutes later, Mia again got around the left side cutting back to Amy (another theme...our crosses were very good and frequent) who forced the LW keeper into a deflected save that Leah finished from 3 yards. Both Amy and Leah made perfect supporting runs for Mia's cross and were rewarded with an assist and goal respectively. 6-0 Bellevue. And a minute after that, in the 70th, Saleen finished the goal party with another magnificent team goal, as Leah found Amy's feet at striker, one-touch pass to an overlapping Saleen, and our exuberant freshman floated into the box before Neymar-ing a low hard shot past the LW keeper. 7-0 Bellevue. Final Score.
And Scene. Five out of five stars. Standing ovation.
Our program has enjoyed big wins before. But never in my tenure at Bellevue have we had such a comprehensive result against such a quality team. And make no mistake. LW is a very good team. That we'll likely see again. And as the old Australian adage goes, "beware the angry kangaroo." So we'll take our big LW win with equal parts confidence and humility, knowing that we'll likely have to face the angry kangaroo again. But overall, it was a special night. We should enjoy it. And yes, I made up that adage.
The credits rolled and were shared by all, with taki taki proudly surrounded by our smiling team after the final whistle (ask your daughter). It was a massive team win, with excellent contributions from the entire squad.
And the studio has already green-lighted a trilogy, with the final drama to likely take place a week from Monday (Godfather III? Return of the King? I hope so. But please, no Ewoks). However, before we secure the funding and buy the gown and tux for the premiere, we still need to take care of some very important business: senior night versus Mercer Island. With a win against the Islanders, our team will clinch the #1 seed in the Kingco league and will host the championship game on Monday, Oct 30th (tell your high school friends to clear their calendar). But more importantly, the motivation for our next match will be to honor our seniors. That will be enough. Tuesday will be the last regular season home game for an incredible group of players, so we won't allow ourselves a dip in form from Saturday to Tuesday. I expect our MI sequel to be award-season worthy because I can't imagine anyone in our team who wouldn't want to take the field against our traditional rivals with such a momentous double opportunity: honor our seniors and secure a birth in the Kingco championship game.
Thanks to all for your support on a soggy Saturday night. It was absolutely box-office.