Saturday, October 29, 2016

UVM 29Oct2016

Harvard had said they would come here since their football team would be here for our Homecoming game, but they backed out when they thought they might get into Regionals. We had no plans to attend Regionals even if we had qualified because we would not like to miss Homecoming!

We heard that families were coming to see a game and in the past many of our team's former players have come to see us play, so we were determined to find a team to play! Sarah Latilupe tried hard to find another team to play, but no one expressed interest. 

On sort of a lark, I wrote to UVM after we played there Oct 15th to thank them for a great game and to see if they had any interest in a 2nd game here. They are always competitive and love to play, so there have been several falls when we have played them both home and away.

UVM said they wanted to play but were saving their travel funds for Nationals in Alabama later in November. At first I was resigned to the idea that we might not have a game (!!!), but pretty quickly I decided that I would just offer to pay for their transportation in UVM vans. They accepted that offer!

We had a break in the rain for last night's bonfire and were hoping it would hold off during our 11am game -- planned not to conflict with the football game at 1:30. It rained for most of our game but broke at the end for our team photo!

Many many fans! Alumnae! Kate Tomlinson '16, Blythe Butler '13, Liz Hyde '16, Christine Kanoff '15, Hannah Nolan '16, Caroline Gellman '15, Lindsey's folks all the way from Hawaii and Katie's from Washington State, Callie's folks, Lizzie's family, Haley's grandparents and many others I didn't get to meet.

We spoke about keeping the ball moving and putting immediate pressure on them -- knowing that they will pressure us.

Our passing immediately looked expert, and that led to Jenna's getting the first shot in the 5th minute. UVM came back with a really good chance in the 13th minute prevented by Laura for a corner.

UVM had free kick over, a shot wide and a free kick saved before Morgan sent the ball to Lizzie up the right side of the field. Lizzie used her speed to beat her defender and slotted a powerful low shot into the far left side of the UVM net for the game's only goal in the 26th minute.

UVM had two more shots in the 33rd minute -- one saved and one wide -- before Laura came out to grab the ball off the foot of a UVM attacker in the 35th minute. Very brave!

Haley got a shot off that went wide and Laura saved another UVM shot just before the 1st 40-minute half ended.

We spoke at half-time about pretending that we don't have a goal -- to keep our energy high, keep working hard and move as a unit (all attacking and all defending).

UVM kept attacking, but Laura made three more saves, and Maria squashed one of their shots in front of our goal in the 68th minute. Sarah A took a corner kick right after that, and Elise earned a free kick in the 71st minute. 

Our defense was solid and Laura was quick to prevent all of the UVM opportunities. Our five midfielders and one target player all worked well together to get the ball and keep it -- everyone kept working hard to the end. 

It was great to get the win from such a strong team -- especially in front of so many fans!

Shots 3:14  Saves 9:0

G: Laura
CD: Mari+Christina, Izzy
OD: Izzy+Katie, Morgan+Callie, Elise, Maria
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L+Maria, Christyn+Elise+Namya, Mel
OM: Meredith+Jenna, Mel+Julia, Haley+Sarah A, Nat
F: Lizzie, Rose

5 Jenna shot wide
13 UVM shot saved for a corner
14 UVM free kick over
20 UVM shot wide
24 UVM free kick saved
26 Morgan pass to Lizzie shot slotted low far left --> 1:0
33 UVM shot saved, UVM shot wide
35 Laura came out to grab a ball off the foot of a UVM attacker
36 Haley shot wide
40 UVM shot saved
43 UVM free kick wide
53 UVM free kick wide
55 UVM shot saved
57 UVM free kick saved
59 UVM shot wide
68 UVM shot saved, a 2nd shot blocked by Maria
69 Sarah A corner
71 Elise earned and took a free kick

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Northeastern 22Oct2016

Overnight rain broke just in time for us to play Northeastern -- a strong Boston-based team who beat us 0:3 two years ago. We always have to scramble to find teams to play after our six league games versus New England West teams, and usually the Boston-based New England East teams are our favorites.

In our Thursday meeting we discussed a change to our 4-4-2 formation in hopes of getting more control over the mid-field. Using 3 central midfielders instead of 2 and two wing players to run the entire length of the field, it seemed best to refer to the formation as 4-5-1 so that only one player might feel like a target player up top to score goals or set up others to score. 

Remembering past years when they were physically strong and sometimes aggressive, the advice before the game was to keep the ball moving so we don't get tackled and can keep some possession in hopes of getting near their goal.

Meredith's folks and grandmother (complete with cookies for each player!) greeted us at the field, and after the game we saw Lindsey's parents, too -- all the way from Hawaii (also with long-distance treats from home)! 

To start, Elise joined Lindsey and Sarah Latulipe in the middle, Meredith and Jenna on the wings, Rose up top and Mari, Christina, Katie and  Morgan in our back line in front of Laura, our gifted goalkeeper. We decided to play 40-min halves.

We looked much more organized and dominant from the start. Meredith and Elise got off shots that were saved early on, and after a long dribble from central defense Christina combined with Jenna up the right side of the field to set up Rose for the first goal in the 8th minute.

After 10 minutes, Christyn+Maria+Namya subbed into the middle, Lizzie up top. At the 14 minute mark Nat and Sarah Abramowitz subbed for Meredith and Jenna. At 20 minutes, Julia subbed in for Morgan.

In the 21st minute, Northeastern got a breakaway in behind our strong defense, but Christina used her immense speed to catch up and smother the Northeastern attacker's shot. Christina squelched another attempt right after that in front of our goal.

In the 24th minute, Laura saved a rolling Northeastern shot. Sarah A earned us a corner kick right after that, and Lindsey had a shot saved in the 30th minute.

In the 33rd minute, Jenna had a great scoring opportunity smothered near the Northeastern goal by a defender and Christyn had a shot wide. Laura made another save right after that, then Christyn took a free kick and Jenna had a shot saved.

At the half we spoke about how much better our play looked but to pretend that there is no score yet just to keep our energy high, and we suggested faster passing and stepping to defend them sooner.

Sarah A earned us corner after two minutes, and Rose put her high-arched corner kick into a perfect location for Lindsey's forceful run that allowed her to head the ball into their goal.

Rose had a shot saved before Northeastern started to show more promise with better passes that got them several shots off that all went wide -- interspersed by Lizzie's line drive from the right side that sailing wide left.

Our passing and movement kept improving, however, and we also did well to switch the ball across the field. The defenders -- Katie, Mari, Christina, Morgan and Julia -- made good decisions about when to pass and how to switch the ball from side to side. It was so great to see the defenders get forward and become more a part of the attack than ever.

In the 70th minute when the defenders switched the play from right to left to reach Meredith, she made a diagonal dribble (something we've talked about doing when the time is right) from the left side into the middle that allowed her to launch a shot that went wide right. 

Only a minute later Meredith beat several defenders and got off a cross that Jenna volleyed into the Northeastern net for a very memorable goal.

Maria earned us another free kick in the 75th minute, and Christina's free kick on target forced a save by the Northeastern goalkeeper. Northeastern had one more chance with a free kick that Laura saved.

Our players felt that Northeastern was one of the better teams we have played this fall, and it was obvious that we had stepped up our game considerably since playing UVM last Saturday. The energy and passing options were noticeably better and we played more cohesively than ever.

We were lucky to finish as the rain started to fall again -- just in time to enjoy the cookies and treats from Meredith's and Lindsey's folks!

Shots 14:8   Saves 3:6

F: Rose
OM: Meredith+Jenna, Nat+Sarah A
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L+Elise, Christyn+Maria+Namya
OD: Morgan+Katie, Julia
CD: Mari+Christina
G: Laura

4 Meredith shot saved
7 Elise shot saved
8 Rose set up by Jenna and Christina --> 1:0
21 Northeastern breakaway smothered by Christina
22 Northeastern shot squashed by Christina
24 Northeastern rolling shot saved
25 Sarah A earned a corner
30 Lindsey shot saved
33 Jenna shot smothered by NE defense
33 Christina shot wide
34 Northeastern shot saved
35 Christyn free kick
35 Jenna shot saved
37 Northeastern corner
42 Sarah A earned a corner, Lindsey converted Rose's corner --> 2:0
50 Rose shot saved
53 Northeastern shot wide
55 Northeastern shot wide
56 Northeastern shot wide
59 Lizzie shot wide
62 Northeastern free kick
68 Northeastern free kick, shot wide
70 Meredith shot wide
71 Meredith cross to Jenna half-volley --> 3:0
75 Maria earned a free kick, Christina shot saved
78 Northeastern free kick saved

Saturday, October 15, 2016

at UVM 15Oct2016

Brilliant sun, temperatures reaching 60F and wind greeted us after our , colorful fall drive north on I-89. UVM wanted to play 45-minute halves -- we had 7 subs so we thought we could handle that.

We spoke about not holding the ball -- expecting them to put immediate pressure on us -- and not giving them time with the ball.

UVM did put pressure on us immediately and got off a couple shots, one that Laura had to save. We seemed frazzled at first but regained our composure and got two corners -- one that led to a great header that Mel made but was saved.

Maria also got off a shot that was saved before UVM got a few more shots wide.

Neither team could keep the ball, but we showed improvement as the halve progressed. At half time we spoke about that and reiterated that we would keep the ball moving in order to be able to maintain more possession. We also were concerned about a very physical UVM player, so Mari as captain spoke to the ref about that.

Mari got a free kick and Elise had a shot saved before we were called for a hand ball about 30m out from our goal. UVM's shot hit the cross-bar and they headed in the rebound for the game's only goal in the 55th minute. It was a tough break for us since the two teams are so evenly matched.

Another piece of bad luck for was Haley to get a ball kicked into her face! The EMT did some tests that were inconclusive, but she didn't play any more after that.

Laura made another save in the 61st minute. Lindsey made a shot wide and after one of Rose's corners our header hit the post (Mel, perhaps). UVM's free kick went over the bar in the 81st minute. 

Meredith (I think) had a shot wide in the 86th minute, capping a period of high intensity when we tried a 4-3-2-1 formation to get more control over the midfield. It looked promising, and it didn't feel at all that we had been dominated by UVM -- more that they got lucky. 

Their coach thanked us for coming north (most of the other teams won't drive that far) -- it was a wonderful day to be outdoors!a

G: Laura
CD: Mari+Izzy
OD: Elise+Julia, Morgan+Callie
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L, Maria+Elise
OM: Mel+Sarah A, Nat+Meredith
F: Rose+Haley, Jenna, Morgan

Shots 6:9  Saves 2:3

2 UVM corner
3 UVM shot saved
4 UVM shot wide
11 Rose corner (2), Mel header saved
24 Maria shot saved
25 UVM shot wide
27 UVM shot wide
30 Izzy free kick
32 UVM shot wide
38 UVM corner
46 UVM corner
47 Mari free kick
48 Elise shot saved
49 Elise corner
55 UVM free kick
     UVM shot hit the cross-bar
     UVM rebounded header went in --> 0:1
61 UVM shot saved
65 Lindsey shot wide
67 Rose corner
     Mel (?) header hit the upright
81 UVM free kick over the cross-bar
83 UVM free kick
86 Meredith (?) shot wide
88 UVM free kick

Sunday, October 9, 2016

at Yale 9Oct2016

Leaving Hanover in cool colorful fall conditions we found rain and wind once we got into Connecticut. When we arrived at field C1 on Central Ave in New Haven, Yale were playing Quinnipiac -- the team we were to face after playing Yale.

We got a little bit of a late start -- deciding to wake a player who for sure wanted to come and get food from '53 Commons that opened a little later than we had hoped to leave. But we arrived at the Yale field around 11am for our 11:45am game. We easily decided it was better not to rush to warm up since the conditions were so blistery and raw!

We had FANS! Christina's folks+pups+treats from Virginia, Lizzie's parents+treats, Natalie's folks and Lindsey's aunt and uncle -- maybe others? Rose's grandparents arrived as were leaving, but she did get to see them. Impressive that Callie came with us even though she is not quite ready to play.

We spoke about keeping the ball moving and being quick with our passes. The wet conditions meant that the ball skipped and bounced awkwardly. Yale told us we would play 30-minute halves.

We responded extremely well! Lizzie, Sarah L and Izzy got off shots early in the game -- in the first 12 minutes we had 6 shots to Yale's one shot that Laura saved. Given the slippery conditions, goalkeeper saves are even more impressive.

Elise took a free kick in the 18th minute and Sarah L got off another shot just before the half. 

Our passing and movement were better than ever, and we responded well to the high pressure Yale put on us.

In the second half, Yale put a shot over the cross-bar before Elise took a free kick and Christyn put a shot over. There was a long period where neither team could create chances, and Laura made two key saves late in the game, followed by the upright post preventing Yale in the last minute.

We were happy with the improvement in our style of play, greater energy and better passing. Just as we were going to welcome Quinnipiac onto the pitch, their captains said they had no goalkeeper and would play if we insisted but would forfeit if we didn't. After a short discussion our team decided that the weather was a big impediment and that we would be happy to head home and warm up in our vans.

G: Laura
CD: Mari+Christina, Izzy
OD: Izzy+Katie, Morgan+Julia
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L, Maria+Elise
OM: Mel+Rose, Nat+Jenna, Meredith+Sarah A
F: Lizzie+Haley, Namya+Christyn

Shots 9:5 Saves 3:3

2 Lizzie shot saved
3 Izzy shot saved
7 Sarah L shot over
11 Yale shot saved
12 Sarah L shot saved
12 Izzy shot wide
18 Elise free kick
23 Yale corner
28 Sarah L shot over
31 Yale shot over
33 Elise free kick
34 Christyn shot over
38 Yale corner
51 Yale corner
52 Yale shot saved
58 Yale shot saved
59 Yale free kick hit post, corner

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Middlebury 5Oct2016

Brilliant, warm (70F) sunshine welcomed Middlebury JV -- a team we always enjoy playing even when we can't beat them. They saw great colors on their drive over Rochester and Middlebury Gaps -- a drive we always have loved.

Last year Middlebury couldn't find enough players to come, so we were very pleased that our players could manage their midterms and still play. Subs came just in time to give starting players a break.

Lizzie's parents came, and Kate Tomlinson visited during the first half -- she was here recruiting for her firm.

We spoke about making quick, good passes and being an option for receiving a pass. 

Mel showed great energy making a move past a Middlebury defender and put a shot over the bar. Rose took a couple corners kicks beautifully before she got off a shot wide in the 10th minute.

Haley got us on the scoreboard in the 15th minute by being right in front of the Middlebury goal when the ball came to her amid many Middlebury defenders. We had good possession and won many 50/50 chances, even taking the ball from Middlebury often! 

Then Lindsey, who had subbed into central defense, pushed way upfield and fed the ball to Namya, who converted her shot for our second goal.

Rose had another corner kick, Middlebury had two corner kicks, Rose had a shot over the bar and Haley had a shot saved before the short (35-minute) half ended.

In our half-time discussion we were happy to be playing well and to make so many good passes, doing a better job getting forward and keeping the ball.

Lizzie's first shot of the second half went wide, but then we allowed Middlebury to get to our goal, but Sarah Abramowitz saved us. Lindsey's shot was saved in the 39th minute, and Christyn had a shot saved for a corner taken beautifully by Elise.

In the 43rd minute, Lizzie fed the ball to Julia, who got us our third goal. Sarah Latulipe and Morgan both had shots saved before Sarah Abramowitz made another key save on a Middlebury corner kick. 

Mari earned us a corner kick, which was remarkable since she was in center defense and was able to get so far up the field, using her immense skill. Rose did the honor of taking it, but it was Meredith who drove a low shot into the left side of the Middlebury goal for our fourth goal in the 53rd minute. This was remarkable in that Meredith had agreed to play some center midfield and hadn't been in that role for us until today!

Sarah A saved us again when Middlebury got off a shot in the 55th minute, Maria put a shot wide and Rose took another corner before Lindsey made an unusually acrobatic volley to Lizzie, who headed the ball into the Middlebury goal -- but Lizzie was offside so that didn't count.

Sarah L got off a shot that went wide before Lizzie made a move to turn around a Middlebury defender so she could shoot a low shot in to the left side of the goal for our fifth goal in the 67th minute.

It was a fine day to work on our passing, and the higher quality of our play was very apparent from the long periods of possession and high score from the game. 

Many players made great choices to take on and beat Middlebury defenders when they might otherwise have passed the ball -- Christina got all the way to the Middlebury end line doing that, and Mari, Maria, Elise, Morgan, Julia and Lindsey all got to the Middlebury third from defensive positions. 

There were more diagonal passes -- Mel stood out for making some great non-intuitive passes that threw off the Middlebury players, and more give-and-go passes in traffic along the sides -- we were calmer in getting the ball forward from our defensive third and were able to use short passes instead of just kicking the ball forward (which often means loss of possession).

Shots 17:3  Saves 3:4

F: Rose+Haley, Christyn+Nat
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L, Maria+Elise, Namya, Meredith
OM: Mel+Lizzie, Meredith+Sarah A, Julia+Nat
CD: Mari+Christina, Lindsey, Maria
OD: Maria+Julia, Morgan+Elise, Christina
G: Morgan, Sarah A

2 Mel shot over
9 Rose corner (2)
10 Rose shot wide left
15 Haley amid traffic --> 1:0
24 Namya from Lindsey who ran up from center defense --> 2:0
26 Rose corner
27,29 Midd corner
33 Rose shot overside
36 Haley shot over
37 Lizzie shot wide
38 Midd shot saved by Sarah A
39 Lindsey shot saved
40 Christyn shot saved for a corner taken by Elise
43 Lizzie to Julia --> 3:0
44 Sarah L shot saved
46 Morgan shot saved
47 Midd corner/Sarah A save
52 Mari earned a corner taken by Rose
53 Meredith low drive into lower left corner --> 4:0
55 Midd shot saved by Sarah A
56 Midd corner
57 Maria shot wide
58 Rose corner
62 Lindsey volley to Lizzie's header called offside
65 Sarah L shot wide
67 Lizzie ground shot lower left -> 5:0
70 Mel corner

Sunday, October 2, 2016

UMass B 2Oct2016

Overcast and 55-60F but dry, we welcomed the second UMass team for our 2pm game. We weren't sure what to expect from them because this is the first season UMass has had two teams in our league. They had a large group of players -- maybe about 20.

We had fans! Lizzie's dad and godmother and a bunch of KDE fans came!

We were very fortunate to have Morgan and Sarah A offer to play GK in Laura's absence! Goal is such a difficult position and not a role anyone should be forced to play.

Mari took the words out of my mouth in our huddle just before the game -- make high-quality passes quickly and provide good passing options -- just what we worked on in practice Thursday. That was good advice (and I heard the UMass coach offer similar input to his team) -- we were able to start much more energetically in this game than last Sunday's game.

Rose got off the first shot in the 4th and 5th minutes -- one wide and one that hit the left post! Then UMass made a shot wide before they had a free kick go wide in the 16th minute.

Rose, Julia and Elise all had shots in the remainder of the (40-minute) half -- Elise's free kick on target but saved in the last minute of the half.

At the half, we spoke about keeping up our pressure and subbing often ( every 10 minutes) in order to keep ourselves fresh and intense. Nat suggested more give-and-go passes in the final third as a good tactic for breaking down their defense. 

UMass had a free kick go wide and a shot saved by Sarah A early in the second half. Then Meredith made a perfect cross into the top of the UMass box that became a great scoring opportunity but was snuffed out by their keeper.

It seemed that we had the ball in their half a great deal of the time after that, and in the 56th minute Maria earned us a free kick on their 18 that Elise knuckled into the top left corner of the UMass net for the only goal of the game. 

Right after that, Nat made a solid shot that was saved for a corner in the 58th minute. Elise took the corner kick that could have easily gone into their net but was cleared. 

Sarah L made a solid shot that went wide in the 60th minute, and just after that Christyn got a breakaway smothered by the UMass GK. Christyn soon after that earned us another corner kick that Rose lofted wonderfully into the area in front the UMass goal but was cleared.

In the 68th minute, Christyn had a shot blocked, and Lizzie shot was saved for a corner taken by Rose that was driven at about head level across the front of the UMass goal.

Maria got off a shot that went wide in the 72nd minute, and finally UMass got off a shot in the last minute that sailed wide.

We felt that the better team won, but it could have gone either way if we had not worked so hard to get and keep the ball. It was a tribute to the immense benefit of hard work, especially in the 2nd half.

GK: Morgan+Sarah A
CD: Mari+Christina, Izzy
OD: Izzy+Katie, Maria, Morgan
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L, Maria+Elise
OM: Mel+Lizzie, Jenna+Julia, Meredith+Sarah A
F: Christyn+Rose, Nat+Namya

Shots 13:5  Saves 1:7

4 Rose shot wide
5 Rose shot hit the left post!
6 UMass shot wide right
16 UMass free kick wide
20 Rose free kick wide
28 Julia shot over
29 Elise corner kick
40 Elise free kick saved
41 UMass free kick wide
43 UMass shot saved by Sarah A
53 Meredith cross from the left side to the 18 smothered
55 UMass corner 
56 Elise free kick knuckled into upper left --> 1:0
58 Nat shot saved for Elise's corner kick
60 Sarah L shot wide
62 Christyn breakaway smothered 
66 Christyn earned a corner kick taken by Rose
68 Christyn's shot blocked
68 Lizzie's shot saved for a corner taken by Rose
72 Maria shot wide
79 UMass shot wide