Taylor finished her 1st season playing for Thunder United on the Girls U15 White team coached by Karen Marshal and John Dykes. They finished in winning fashion– winning five in a row to finish the season. The win in their last game was needed to move into 1st place in the division.  Not only were they division champions, but they also will move up to the premier division next season.

Taylor really enjoyed her playing on this team. She started the season not knowing anybody on the team and finished looking forward to playing another season next year with them. It was kind of funny because she tried out for Thunder United because she wanted to play for her friend Natalie, but ended up playing on a different team.

This was her first season of select soccer in a couple of years.  This team was playing at the highest level of competition she had played at ever.  It was some what of an adjustment for her before she gained her confidence.  This was her first season of select soccer in a couple of years.  This team was playing at the highest level of competition she had played at ever.  She definitely proved she could hold her own on this level.

 

Taylor returned to the ranks of select soccer after a two year hiatus.  She is now playing for the Thunder United U15 White Team.  They started the season playing in the Middletown Soccer Tournament: Mar. 20-21. She was only able to attend one and a half practices prior to the tournament, so not a ton of time with a soccer ball or her new teammates.

In the 1st game you could tell she was not 100% comfortable playing with her new team and 1st time playing Select in 2 years. She was a little tentative and the team they were playing was a very physical one.  Nothing really to note other than they won 1-0 on a penalty kick.

In the 2nd game Taylor started to find her rhythm and comfort zone.  She played much more aggressively and manage to get a few shots on goal in the 1st half.  Also, she was communicating more with her teammates and learning how they play.  In the 2nd half she continued to play with more confidence.  She got her 1st assist off a nice long kick from the wing.  Shortly after that she scored her 1st goal.  They ended up winning 4-1.

They needed to win or tie the 3rd game to make the championship game.  Taylor played a good portion of the game, but had limited opportunity to make plays as the other team was on the attack more than her team.  They ended up with a loss to end the tournament.

Click on this link to see more photos of the team from this tournament:
http://thunderunitedu15white.dschaak.org/middletown/index.html

 

Last game of the season was today. It was very much a fall day… cool, cloudy, leaves blowing in the wind.  This was the last regular season game.  A win and we lock up 2nd place which was important for seeding for the post season tournament.     The 2nd place team plays the 3rd place team, while the 4th place team plays the 1st place team.  The worst we could do was 4th, so we were in for sure with only  the seeding to be determined.  We were missing two of our players, but the other team had just 11 girls.  That means we had 3 subs, while they had none.  We had played this team the 1st game of the season and beat them 4-1.  They came into this game with a 2-7 record, so in theory we should beat them.

For this game Taylor had a little larger cheering section than normal.  Not only did Alex join her mother on the sidelines, but Grandma and Aunt Jennifer were there, too. Who knows that may have given her a little more inspiration to play better.

The first quarter started off with us attacking immediately.  The girls were passing well.  We got our shots and made the most of them finishing the 1st quarter up 3-0.  Taylor scored 2 goals. The first off a nice assist from her teammate and another after she took it away from a defender to get the shot.   It was a little two easy and you could see the girls relax.  We definitely did not get as many shots on goal the 2nd quarter and saw the ball at our end of the field more.  Still Taylor scored her 3rd goal to put us up 4-0 at the half and record her 1st hat trick of the season.

My biggest concern at halftime was that the girls would let down too much.   I had them tell me what they were doing right and what they could be doing better to keep them focused on the game.  They knew what they could be doing better without any prodding from me.  They came out back on the attack and started scoring again.  Taylor scored her 4th goal of the game in the 3rd quarter. In fact we scored 3 more goals midway through the quarter, so I pulled my center midfielders back not allowing them to go beyond the center field area.  No reason to run up the score.

Since we were up 7-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter I mixed up the line up some for the last quarter.  I put two of my regular defenders in as Left and Right Wings (Forwards).  Also, I told my center midfielders they were not to advance beyond the center circle.  This means at best we would have four attackers and two of those normally played defense.  Even with this configuration we continued to be on the attack most of the time.  Their keeper did a good job and made repeated saves.  At one point my regular center fullback (defender) moved the ball within 5 yards of the goal. She shot and it hit the post. She retrieved the ball on the rebound and shot again, but this time the keeper saved. She was bummed because she normally doesn’t get the chance to score and her grand parents were at the game.

The game ended 7-0.  The girls had a great time and played good team ball.  I really enjoy it when they play their positions and make good passes to set up the offense.  Now, we have locked up 2nd place in the division and our spot in the post season tournament.  They will play Saturday. If they win, then they play the winner of the other bracket on Sunday with the league champion advancing to the state tournament.

You can view more pictures of the game here: http://lysa-kickersgold.dschaak.org/index.htm

 

We are in 2nd place going into our final game which we play tomorrow.  If we win, we lock up 2nd and will play in the post season tournament.  Top 4 teams make the playoffs.

 

Today we played the other Loveland soccer team.  We came into the game 6-2.  They were 2-5.  But this is a rivalry game…

The 1st quarter was not a good one for us.  The other team came out with more energy and was beating us to the ball and getting more shots.  Thankfully the quarter ended 0-0.  I gave the girls a little pep talk between quarters. It seemed to work as they came out with a lot more energy.  We started beating them to the ball and getting some good looks at the goal.  Taylor had a couple of shots that were saved by their keeper.  We have one girl with some real speed at wing, but they had a defender with equal speed who neutralized a few opportunities for what looked to be breakaways. It was still 0-0 at half, but I felt much better seeing the energy level and aggressiveness pick up.

The 3rd quarter saw us finally break the 0-0 tie.  We had a corner kick.  On the kick it went into the middle, but got kicked back out. The girl who took the corner kick for us was there for the ball. She  shot it back in for a goal. The 3rd quarter ended 1-0.  We started the 4th quarter with another goal fairly early into the period.  It wasn’t long after our goal that they got a break away and scored.   The lead was down to a single goal at 2-1.  It seemed the other team was on the attack most of the rest of the game.

The last two minutes of the game the other team had corner kick after corner kick.  Talk about hard on the nerves.  Corner kicks are some of your best chances to score and they were taking a lot of them. It was almost painful to keep looking at the clock and it just wasn’t running down fast enough.  Thankfully, we managed to defend all attempts and finished the game 2-1 and the win.  With one game to go we are 7-2. Depending on the results of the other games we may have locked up a post season berth with this win. Next Saturday is our final regular season game.

 

Last night the girls played against the #1 team in the Say North Kickers division.  This game was rescheduled from from last Saturday due to the other team requesting a reschedule.  It was cold and overcast last night. With the days getting short it was pretty dark, too (which is why the pictures are a little blurry with the action).  Some of the girls didn’t come prepared for the weather and definitely were feeling the cold.

It was some what of a scramble for everyone as kick off was scheduled for 5:45pm on a weeknight.  With this being an away game parents were scrambling to get to the field in time with work, rush hour, and a little bit of a drive. We had are own scramble as Taylor realized she only had one shin guard when we got to the field. You can’t play without shin guards, so Tanya ran to the store (too far to go home) to get shin guards.  We only had nine girls about five minutes before kick-off and one of those was unable to play due to a missing a shin guard.  Tanya got back right before kick off.  Needless to say I was stressing knowing we were playing a very good team and not knowing if  we were going to put 11 girls on the field.  We ended up with enough to field a full team right at kick off as Taylor hurried to get her shin guards on right before kick off.  In the end we were missing two of our girls which left us with three subs.

The first half was a defensive struggle.  Both teams managed to move the ball and get some shots, but it was a struggle to put it in the goal.  Our keeper made some nice saves on the defensive end and on the offensive side we missed some opportunities with shots going just wide. The other team finally score with a few minutes left in the half, so we went into the half down 1-0. We had our chances, so this was definitely a well matched game.

The second half again saw both sides with opportunities to score, but struggling to take advantage.  Our keeper made some great saves to keep us within a goal.  Our girls were definitely more aggressive the 2nd half.  As the time started to wind down the other teams girls were going down and taking their time getting up and off the field.  It definitely appeared they were trying to slow things down and waste time.  Our girls took a pounding, but bounced up time and again to keep the play alive.  I over heard the other coach talking to her players and they were definitely frustrated.

The other team eventually scored a second second off a corner kick goal to clinch the game late.  It shouldn’t have happened as our girls had the opportunity to clear it out, but let the ball sit in front of our goal too long.  It ended 2-0.  We may not have won, but we  played the #1 undefeated team in the division tough.  That team plays for the West Chester SAY club, which is known for stacking their rec teams. They definitely had some quality players, but our girls didn’t back down one bit.

As of today we are in 2nd in the division with a 6-2 record.  The 3rd place team has played one less game with a 5-0-2 record. If they win their 8th game they would move ahead of us.  If we win our last two game, we are guaranteed to make the post season tournament. Tomorrow we play the other Loveland Girls Kickers team.

You can view more pictures of the game here: http://lysa-kickersgold.dschaak.org/index.htm

 

Taylor’s team experienced their 1st loss of the season going up against a team that was 5-0-1 with their tie coming against the other undefeated team. Let’s just say it was not a good day for one of our best players to be out sick, two of our best players under the weather, and another player missing from the game.  Taylor was having a hard time breathing and was limited due to that and another one of our better players was playing but was sick so her energy level was limited, too. Even with all that the girls hung in there and had their chances. We had opportunities to score: one shot off the top bar, one wide open shot just missed to the left, Taylor had a powerful shot that the keep managed to stop. Our keeper really stepped up and made a bunch of saves,  but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 3-1 loss.

 

Another wet day for soccer.  While it wasn’t raining it has been for the last couple of days, so the field was  fairly wet which made for slippery conditions.  The team we were playing today had only lost one game and that one wasn’t a full game as it was called early due to lightning.  So I did my best to get the girls into an aggressive frame of mind especially since our last early game saw them come out with a distinct lack of energy.

Whether it was what I said or not they definitely came out aggressively as we were up 4-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.  The girls played beautifully as every goal was set up with a series of passes.  Taylor had a nice goal when she followed her shot that came off the post to put it in for her 1st goal of the day.  Once you get up early the concern is that the girls will relax and let the other team back into the game.

During the 2nd quarter there were moments when the girls were letting the other team out hustle them.  They gave up their 1st goal on a high looping shot that game from very far outside the goal.  The keeper just got her hands on the ball but it was hogh over her head and dropped into the goal. Taylor moved from Center Midfielder in the 1st quarter to Center Forward for the 2nd quarter. She took advantage of her position and scored her 2nd goal of the day.  The 1st half ended 5-1.

The 2nd half definitely saw the girls relax some. The other team had a number of shots on goal, but out keepers did their job time and time again.  Still we had our opportunities to score more goals in the 2nd half but missed on some good shots.  Eventually the other team scored another goal, but they ran out of time and the game ended 5-2. We sent them home with their 2nd loss of the season and extending our record to 6-0.

After last weekend there were two other undefeated teams (both 4-0).  The have not updated the standings since then, so I don’t if they are still both undefeated. Regardless we have not played either of those teams yet, so the girls still have their work cut out if they want to finish the season undefeated.

 

Taylor’s soccer team extended the record to 5-0 playing in the rain.  It was their 1st game on field turf and under the lights. The girls got to a fast start finishing the 1st quarter up 4-0. Taylor scored the 1st goal to get things started and it just kept going from there.  The girls hustle factor dropped off in the 2nd quarter and we finished the half 5-0.  They scored another goal in the 3rd quarter, so with us up 6-0 I shifted things to a more defensive posture.  Our center midfielder scored 2 more goals pretty much on her own, so I told her she wasn’t allowed to go past midfield for the rest of the game. The game finished 8-0.

 

Taylor’s soccer team had their 4th game of the season.  They entered the game 3-0 and were playing a team that was 0-3. The 1st half was a battle of defenses and ended 0-0.   The other team scored fairly early in the 3rd quarter on a questionable goal.  Our keeper defended a shot that came at her shoulder high. She  blocked it into the post then grabbed it and brought it out.  It didn’t appear the ball completely crossed into the goal (my keepers says it didn’t), but it was called a goal.  The other team scored a 2nd goal before the end of the quarter, so we went into the 4th quarter down 2-0.

The girls were talking on the bench before the start of the final quarter that they couldn’t lose this game. We were undefeated and they wanted to keep it that way especially since the team we were playing had not won a game.  Well, they came out fired up.  After practically sleepwalking through 1st three quarters they came out with a new energy and a sense of urgency.  We got an early look at the goal and scored.

Then after the kick off we were back on the attack.  Taylor made a nice pass to set up our the game tying goal even though the other team had moved more players to defense to hold their lead.  Taylor had some nice shots, but their keeper played the ball well and made the saves.  One of her shots was from well outside the penalty box and a line drive, but the keeper managed to save that one even though it came in with some real velocity on it. Taylor has a very strong kick and she was giving it her all.

One of the girls had told me at the quarter break that if I put her in at forward she would score.  She normally plays stopper or keeper.  In fact she was our keeper when the other team scored their two goals. She is a skilled player with a strong foot, so I figured I’d give her a  shot at it.  Well, she kept her promise scoring the go ahead goal with about 5 minutes left in the game earning a measure of redemption.   We had a few more opportunities to score, but either the keeper made the save or we missed the shot. One shot just barely went high over the cross bar on an open shot at the goal.  The game finished with us winning 3-2 and keeping our undefeated status.

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