Today we played our 7th game of the Spring Season. With our only practice this week the girls didn’t seem to give their all. I was worried about a serious letdown. I spoke to them about it before the game, I wasn’t confident my little speech would work. This is the second time we played this team in the spring. Last game was a come from behind 3-2 win. It was a good game.
We play a 3-2-2 and are more defense oriented. The First Quarter started off with opposing team in a 1-2-2-2. They were keeping one defender back by the goal and pushing the rest up the field. It was a risky strategy and if we moved the ball well it would backfire on them. Our girls were playing like they were running with cement in their shoes. One girl on offense was hustling, the rest were ball watching and there was no movement without the ball. They were having our letdown and it was ridiculous. They had a really nice breakaway to score a goal. The whole quarter was a mess for us. It was really ugly. We had 3 shots on goal to their 5, they were up 1-0, and we were lucky.
Between the quarters I read them the riot act. I told them there are only 2 games left and they made a commitment. If they don’t want to play hard take a seat and someone will play hard in your place. I think it lit a fire. The Second Quarter started and we were dominant. We moved one of our better defenders up to mid and she played really well. Our passing was on point; one touch, give and goes and chips. Everything was clicking. We had several breakaways, 2 of wich led to goals and they were in attack mode. Our new mid moved it up the field passed away got it right back, beautiful give and go, kicked it right past the goalie. That was her first goal ever. Our defense was perfect, they were pinchin to the middle when they had to and forcing the other team to the outside. Best quarter of soccer these kids have ever played. We had 6 shots on goal to their 2, we were up 3-1.
At halftime I let the girls know how well they were playing. The Third Quarter was a really solid quarter. We were moving the ball well and our defense was solid. It was a back and forth game, a lot of nice buildups that would end about 3/4s of the way up the field. What really stood out was our defenders moving the ball up the field when they won it. I was very impressed with them moving the ball and the smart decisions they were making. They had a breakaway that we tripped them on and they scored a goal. It was a well played quarter and our suffocating defense was frustrating them. They had 3 shots on goal to our 3 and we were still winning 3-2.
If the Second Quarter was our best ever, the Fourth Quarter blew it away. They pushed their defense up again and our girls were drawing them in then chipping over them. We would get the chip, one touch pass and quickly close the distance to the goal. They got called for a handball in the box, setting up a penalty shot, which was easily made. Our defender won the ball, moved it to midfield, passed to the mid, who chipped to our forward who scored again. That happened again minutes later, it ended with our forward scoring her 4th goal of the game. Our defense was great, the only goal we gave up in the quarter was because our defender lost the ball while moving up the field. We had 7 shots on goal to their 1, winning the game 6-3.
Despite our slow start this was our most complete game yet. The defense bringing the ball of the field was a really big step. The one touch passing was great, the chips were great and they were moving when the ball left the foot. They caught us in a few offsides traps, but the girls caught on. This was a fantastic game for these girls. Last spring our record was 0-1-8 and this year we are 4-1-2, a huge improvement. The improvements these girls have made are incredible and I honestly believe they will get better. I will make sure they do before they go to high school. I am a very proud coach.