Bellevue 2-0 Stadium
'12 Lillian (Alex)
'25 Amy (Alex, Raina)
"In soccer, as in life, it's not about individual talent or accolades. It's about working together as a team and putting the team's goals ahead of your own." --Arsene Wagner, ex-Arsenal Manager
"We may not have it all together, but together we can have it all" --"All Together" by Wookiefoot
One of the greatest football managers in the modern game, genteel Frenchman Arsene Wagner of Arsenal fame, and Wisconsin performance-artists-hippie-jam-band collective Wookiefoot, both uphold a core value of our program: it's the collective spirit of the team that matters most. We are blessed to have an amazing collection of individual talent in our team this season. And talented individuals can certainly win a game or two by themselves, but to achieve our goals this season, it will take everyone. All together.
Our opening game of the 2023 season was an excellent example of the collective spirit we hope to foster. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day in the Stadium Bowl, but the temperatures on the turf were easily 10-15 degrees hotter than the 80-degrees measured at kick-off. So we rotated the team consistently throughout the game, got an extra drinks-break midway through each half, and every single Wolverine who stepped on the field to make their 2023 debut made a positive contribution in our 2-0 victory. We needed everyone to contribute, and everyone did.
We opened the scoring in the 12th minute, as Gaby charged into midfield from her center-back position and delivered a perfect entry pass to Lillian's feet just past the center-circle. Lillian turned her defender with a good first touch, and found Alex racing down the right wing with her second. Alex cut inside her defender and lashed a teasing cross that the Stadium keeper could only deflect in front of her goal...to where Lillian was waiting to smash home from 7 yards. Lillian's gut-busting 40-yard supporting run after her entry pass was rewarded with her goal, her 4th goal against Stadium in the last three seasons. Exactly where we want our strikers to be. 1-0 Bellevue.
Twelve minutes later it was 2-0. This time three substitutes contributed to a silky team goal as Saleen released Raina on the left wing with a perfect cross-field pass. Raina dribbled straight at her defender and got to the endline with a beautiful change of pace before cutting the ball back into the box where Alex made a strong run from the right wing, getting a touch to Amy who fired home. Exactly where we want our strikers to be. 2-0 Bellevue.
The balance of the half, and the entire game, we heavily tilted in our favor. But more goals never arrived, as the Stadium keeper had an excellent day with a game-high 15 saves (which is amazing...a handful of saves in a typical game is a busy day for most goalkeepers). Stadium is a very good team that I expect to challenge for a title in the Pierce County League, but on the day, our speed, patient possession, and tenacity won the day. However, we got a not-so-subtle reminder in the 71st minute that possession statistics are meaningless without goals. Stadium was awarded a PK against the run of play with a chance to narrow our lead to a single goal with ten minutes left in the game. To our collective relief, the subsequent shot sailed over the bar and we closed out the game. But if not for the PK miss, the last 10 minutes of the game would've been very very different. Finishing our abundance of chances will be something we continually work on. Final stats: Shots/Corners 20/6 Bellevue, 3/0 Stadium.
Congratulations to our goalkeeping sorority (and the players in front of them working hard) for shutouts in both our JV and Varsity games. Tough to ever lose a game when you don't allow the other team to score.
Thank you to the families and supporters who made the journey to Stadium Bowl. On Tuesday we have a rematch from last season's State quarterfinal against an excellent Shorewood team at Shoreline Stadium. It will be another great test as we begin to forge our identity as a team.
We might not have it all together, but together we can have it all.