All to say, we had to beat (and, ideally, shut out) Massey-Vanier this past Monday to keep our hopes alive. Every game matters. Starting NOW.
Bad news – offensive midfielder and team captain Sofia Paradis would not be playing; out sick.
Good news – talented first-year senior Gloria Riddell was finally cleared to play and would be tasked with playing Sofia’s position in her very first game. Let’s just throw her right into the deep end, shall we…?
Best news – we came out flying from the opening whistle. With the best ball movement I’ve seen this season, our midfield consistently connected passes and : Neva Deblois was denied in close on one of them, Maya Leroux connected on a solid volley from outside the box on another one, and Joliane Tremblay was utterly robbed on the last one, when her rocket from 12 yards out glanced off a defender and then deflected off the post.
But the Red & White kept the pressure on. Gloria and Maya kept winning and distributing, Krystine and Laura and Camryn – the “KLC” – allowed absolutely nothing at the back, and Lisa Patenaude and Joliane continued to attack the Vikings defenders.
Until finally, after being denied on a breakaway 5 minutes earlier (we won’t talk about that one, though…), Joliane carved her way into the box and drew a hard foul. Penalty shot!
Bad news – Joliane was banged up on the play and would not return to the game.
Good news – Camryn Moore confidently buried the PK for the 1-0 lead.
Best news – faced with playing the rest of the game without their top striker, your Spartans responded like true athletes. Instead of hanging their heads, every player, every teammate, stepped it up even more. Delaney Walsh and Player Of The GameTM Lisa Patenaude (who runs as hard coming back on defence as she does running forward) worked their tails off on the wing, Ariela Boltvinik provided a huge energy boost off the bench, and Siena Webster, fresh off a shoulder injury, had her best half of the season, playing with purposeful aggression until she drew her own foul in the box, which led to Camryn’s second penalty shot goal.
As the game wound down and MVR got more desperate, the game got chippy, but I was impressed with the way we handled it. You can’t control your opponents and you can’t control the ref – all you can control is your own effort and your own actions, and we did an admirable job blocking out all the noise.
That said, the Quote Of The DayTM goes to newly-arrived Amelia Kennedy, responding to Coach Kirby’s concern that we might get a cleat to the head: “Well, no need to worry about bruises on the face, Coach – Photo Day is done!”
Final score 2-0 for the good guys, just what the doctor ordered. While it was far from perfect – throw-ins were bad, communication was terrible, and we have the worst/quietest goal celebrations I’ve ever seen(!) – our conditioning was better, our passing was improved, and our positioning was excellent.
Job well done, ladies. Btw, who’s that team at the top of the ETIAC standings?
Coaches Van Dyke & Kirby