This past weekend seven(!) teams from Montreal and the Eastern Townships came to our beautiful campus, green fields, blue sky, leaves just starting to change, and had an epic experience that somehow, incredibly, if only for a day, made you forget about the last 18 months. Honest competition. All those different, vibrant team colors. The sound of the ref’s whistle. Chants of “Let’s go Stanstead!” Players from eight different schools lounging around after a barbecue lunch, music playing from someone’s Bluetooth. Coaches catching up with each other. Medals awarded at day’s end to girls beaming with pride. Teammates. Sweat. Smiles. It was amazing. It was cathartic. It was the S.I.T. J.
Game #1 vs West Island College
Your Spartans, in their first game of the season, were clearly nervous. After forgetting to bring the balls and the med kit to the field, we proceeded to also forget how to communicate and where to position ourselves during play. Our width was bad (“ballside!”), our depth was worse (too many gaps between defenders and mids and strikers), and no talking led to plenty of bunching. Ultimately the Voyageurs beat us handily 2-0, but that score would have been much worse if not for Player Of The GameTM Maddie Lippmann, whose sticky hands and fearlessness in goal saved our bacon countless times. Hopefully, we would be better next game.
Game #2 vs Sacred Heart School of Montreal
So much better! In our best game of the tournament, your Spartans matched a strong Saints squad stride for stride, shot for shot, tackle for tackle. Cap’n Laura Bellini intelligently created space in the midfield. Lisa Patenaude and Joliane Tremblay were constantly threatening and applying pressure to the opposing defenders. Delaney Walsh and Erika Roy worked their butts off going post-to-post on the wing. Cap’n Sofia Paradis and Krystine Breton and Camryn Moore supported each other smartly at the back. But most importantly, our team depth improved, mainly due to the positioning and play of defensive midfielders Victoria Fernandez and Player Of The GameTM Maya Leroux. Maya, in particular, figured things out this game, competing aggressively without hesitation and making smart snap decisions with the ball. An unlucky handball in the box resulted in Sacred Heart scoring the lone goal (barely!) on a penalty kick, but that’s soccer. 1-0 loss. Sometimes you don’t get the result you deserve when you play well. But, man oh man, what an improvement from the first game. We were trending up…
Game #3 vs BCS
…but did not play well vs our longtime rivals from just down the road. The small field did not help our offensive construction – just too crowded – but post-lunch fatigue probably hurt us more. We were a step slow, and we were sloppy. And holy smokes, was our communication awful. Next practice – talking drills! Ultimately, we did just enough to pull out our first win of the year 1-0. Joliane knifed our first goal of the season on an individual effort, and our back line carried us to the finish line led by Player Of The GameTM Camryn Moore, whose intensity never flags and whose motor never quits.
Game #4 vs ECS
While not our best game of the day, it was definitely the funnest (yes, ‘funnest’ is a word! J). After falling behind 1-0, Player Of The GameTM Joliane Tremblay said, “Assez!”, went supernova and scored FOUR STRAIGHT GOALS in what felt like 90 seconds (ok, probably more like 10 minutes, but still!). With ECS playing a little too flat at the back and Sofia winning 50/50s in the midfield (yep, Sofia and Laura switched positions, it may be a thing) and getting her the ball, Joliane took advantage, consistently deking and slaloming her way in between defenders all the way up to the keeper, who had no chance. When she finally subbed off, she looked like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning, her smile was so big J.
That said, Lisa was the one who provided the Highlight Of The NightTM when, from 30 yards out, she absolutely hammered a shot that left a vapor trail and almost busted the inside side netting for the final tally of the game. On the sidelines, our mouths were hanging open. Where did that cannon come from? And can we have more? 5-2 final score and a great way to end the day. Aren’t goals fun? J
5 Personal Memories from the S.I.T.
5) Cheering on our junior girls during the day and having our junior girls cheer us on – SC UnitedTM !
4) No one runs harder than Ariela, or with shorter strides; I swear she squeezes in 8 steps per meter J.
3) Watching the team sing along to “Umbrella” on the bench – a little Rihanna is always a good thing
2) “Shade Therapy” by the arena, players scattered around, stretched out, legs up on the wall
1) The final team cheer of the day, led by Maya. Clearly, you guys don’t need me. I’m out!
Overall, a fantastic day, ladies. For us, who finished the day MUCH better than when we started. And for our school, as Stanstead College put on a fantastic event for our visitors. Trust me, all those players and coaches from other schools left our campus thinking, “Wow, that was amazing, what a great place”.
Be proud. You improved throughout the day, you wore the Red & White with pride, and you represented your school well. Whose house? Our house!
Coaches Van Dyke & Kirby