Warmup was great, our best warmup of the year. Being early was a good thing. Being a little nervous even better. The girls were pumped, laughing with each other while we waited for Alexander Galt to arrive, small groups passing, or shooting on Maddie, or taking photos with Faaiz, or practising bicycle kicks. At one point the players huddled in the middle of the field, arms around each other, swaying back and forth, considering their last soccer game, for some the last game of their lives. “Whose house? Our house!” was the loudest it’s been, every player putting their full throat into it. The starters, shining in their home whites, jogged out to their positions, with the bench cheering them on. And I already knew, before the opening whistle blew, what the outcome was. We’d done it…
…we’d become a true team. We started back in September a disparate group of random girls who knew a little about soccer but less about each other. Heck, we didn’t even know how to celebrate our own goals together. But 7 weeks of road trips & restaurants, donuts and sushi, winning & losing, linked-arms-soccer and 3-man pyramids and pushups for being lazy, 7 weeks of learning together and competing together and working and playing together, turned us into a true team. Win or lose, the season was already an unparalleled success.
But winning is always a nice cherry on top. Sofia started things off by capitalizing on a strange error by the Galt keeper to put us up 1-0. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 after Camryn and Joliane caught the Pipers unawares on a corner kick, sprinting two out of the corner. But Galt is damn good – athletic, fast and skilled – and when they earned a direct kick from just outside the box they made no mistake, i.e. top right corner. No chance. 2-1. Game on.
But that was as close as the Pipers would come on this day. Maddie confidently handled every long-range shot hammered her way, and Player Of The Game Laura Bellini not only scrubbed out every dangerous through-ball Galt sent past our defensive line, but 15 minutes into the second half scored the most important goal of the game on a sublime direct kick from 35 yards out to make it 3-1. And when Sofia coolly sent her second goal of the game over the keeper’s head five minutes later, you could see the Pipers’ shoulders sag. It was over. Joliane converted a beautiful breakaway, Galt scored a meaningless late goal, the final whistle blew, and the Championship Trophy was ours. Let the photos begin!
Man, did we ever IMPROVE this season. First time we played Galt it was 2-2. This time 5-2 and it could’ve been more. Our positioning, our lack of hesitation, our communication, our trust in the system, our trust in each other, all leaps and bounds past what we were doing in September.
And that’s what makes The Perfect Ending. We improved as a team, and we bonded as teammates.
Cherish these memories, ladies. And if they ever get hazy, come on back to the College and visit the gym. That signed banniere will still be on the wall.
Coaches VD and K
Final Season Statistics
8 wins 3 losses 1 tie ETIAC Record: 5-0-1
Goals for: 34 Goals against: 16
E.T.I.A.C. Regular Season CHAMPIONS
E.T.I.A.C. Playoff Champions