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UCA Girls Head Coach
We lost our first game to Winooski, with a score of 3-0. I actually thought we had some great effort by our players in that game. We were really just outmatched physically - Winooski's roster includes 12 Juniors or Seniors, compared to our 4. Size and strength was a big factor in that game, along with our inexperience. However, every situation is a chance to learn and improve, and that, we are doing.
Our second game was only last week, away at Concord. I felt confident going into that game, mostly because Concord is a small school, much like we are. They have only 2 seniors, and also have several 8th graders. Going into the game, I thought that would be a more even match-up for us. However, I found that Concord was extremely aggressive, and appeared to want the ball far more than we did on that particular day. We got out-hustled at every opportunity. It was a disappointing loss, 3-0.
With only one practice between our loss to Concord, and a rematch with them at our own field, it did not give us much time to adjust. However, we spent that practice making some positional adjustments, as well as working on our conditioning. I can understand being physically outmatched by opponents with more skill and bigger, stronger kids. I can't do much about that as a coach. However, I do not want us to ever be out-hustled by and evenly skilled team. I think the girls got the message after our practice on Friday.
Monday we faced Concord at our home field, Gardner Park. It was different story in this game. My girls fought for every 50/50 ball, moved, defended, and definitely hustled. I was so proud of their effort, and especially, their teamwork. It was definitely our best game so far. The changes in position, specifically using Lydia Saaman as Sweeper, made a huge difference for us. She is quick, and has power in her kick. Lydia playing there gives some freedom to the rest of my defense, it that was key to keeping the momentum going in our favor throughout the game. Hannah Piette, playing as Center Fullback, was able to cover more of the field, given the security of Lydia playing behind her. Hannah did an outstanding job for us in this game, scoring our first goal with a lofted ball from well outside the 18. The other members of our defensive line were Megan Hosford, and Nicole Roy, who both had solid games for us. They are tough, and never back down. They made it a tough day for the concord offensive line.
Our second goal came from 8th grader and Center Forward, Meira Buck. Meira used some great footwork to get by the Concord defenders to score, unassisted. Meira has speed and skill. Her strength will come as she continues to grow, yet she is already a consistent and contributing member of our offense.
We had several more scoring opportunities from Laura Libby and Kathryn Daigle, both just missing on more than one occasion.
Overall, we had 20 shots on goal throughout the game, compared with Concord's 9 shots on goal.
Goalie, freshman Sydney Whipple, completed her first full game for us, racking up 7 saves in the shutout. She has really come into her own in goal, and handles the responsibilities very well. This game was the right time for Sydney to take the next step, and she did what she needed to do.
The game finished with a score of 2-0. We will face Concord for a third time in our final regular season game, late in October.
Our next game is Wednesday, September 28th, away at Craftsbury.