My intention is to post something at least after every soccer game. Well, the intention did not get translated to action this past week. Quick recap, we are doing a number of things well, but not quite enough. Also, we have been coming in second instead of first lately.
Our first game in California was played in over 100 degree heat on a turf field (which always raises the temp even further.) We started slow and National Ranked The Master's College put in 5 on us. The next day against Hope International we fared better, giving up an early goal but coming back to tie with about 10 minutes to go. Unfortunately, the game didn't end there, we ran out of gas and effort and gave up 2 goals in the last minute to lose 1-3. We also lost Raeleigh Withey during the game to a nasty shin bruise that we thought was broken. It turns out Rae didn't break her shin, but she still will be out for a couple weeks.
The rest of the trip to Cali was nice, we were able to go to the beach (it was cloudy and 65 degrees) and we did go to Hollywood but were not "discovered" by any movie execs.
On Friday we traveled to Rockhurst, a DII team in Kansas City. We were holding our own pretty well, first half a scoreless tie. But then floodgates were opened and again, we gave up 5.
Sunday, we went up to Morningside where we played much better and I thought we should've won. Morningside scored against the run of play after we thought a girl was offside. The video was inconclusive.
Right now, we are focusing on getting tougher, both mentally and physically. Sunday we played an excellent 89 minutes, creating chances and keeping possession. A series of mistakes and mental breakdowns led to giving up a goal and we were unable to bounce back with a goal or two of our own. We definitely had chances, but could not get the darn ball in the net.
We have an extremely difficult schedule, playing 2 nationally ranked teams in the first 3 weeks of the season along with a DII team. We are being tested by fire (naturally) and we will come through this test better and faster. I asked the team after the Rockhurst game, "Are we dead?" The answer was, "No!" Then I said if this isn't killing us, then it is only making us stronger.
I told the players that we have had a lot of moments of brilliance (and we have.) We just need to shift the brilliance to the finishing department and clean up the few breakdowns that the opponents are taking advantage of. Even though it has been a slow start, I am confident that we will be right in the mix of things when the conference games begin.
Next game is against #7 in the nation, Graceland. A great opportunity to excel. See you there, Saturday, September 18, 1 pm, @CSM.