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
OM: Meredith+Jenna, Nat+Sarah A
CM: Lindsey+Sarah L+Elise, Christyn+Maria+Namya
OD: Morgan+Katie, Julia
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