As I return home from our game against Fairdale tonight, I’m full of emotions. First, I am so proud of our team after that display. The final score read 4-5 in Fairdale’s favor. Yes, we lost by a goal. Here is what happened.
In the first half, we were second best. Even thought we created a lot of chances, they were on top of the game score-wise. Halftime read 4-1 against us. We gave up two goals in the final 5 minutes of the first half, taking a 2-1 deficit and turning it into a 4-1 hole.
Now, it is at this point that most teams would give up. Maybe teams of the past would have given up. Tonight, though, our team did not give up. We came out in the second half and ran the show. We created chance after chance (a thrill to watch for our fans), and the other team was on their heels the whole match. We were right in the game to the final whistle. I want to highlight a few players here.
Bailey, your goal to cut their deficit to 5-4 gave us hope and allowed us to dare to dream. You consistently get yourself into great positions to score, and the goals will continue to flow.
Amber, your tireless work as our captain keeping our spirits up did not go unnoticed by me or anyone else watching. In the chaos of the second half, when we were flying all out in attack, it took a level head to keep us focused, and you provided it. A true captain’s performance, leading by example with a brace (pair) of goals yourself.
Kara, you continue to provide an attacking threat down the flank, and your curling shot into the corner was delicious to watch. You always put in a good shift, and I am continually impressed by your work rate.
Autumn, when the ball is at your feet, I am able to relax a bit, because I know you are solid with the ball. Your willingness to take players on is an inspiration to us watching, and we thank you for it.
Kelela, you put in good work in the midfield, and no one will ever accuse you of having a bad spirit. You constantly look to make the best of the situation, and that is what we need from you. Keep those spirits up!
Meghan, you were able to hold the entire midfield under control for the last 15 minutes as we chased an equalizer, no easy task, and you responded well to the halftime team talk. I am proud of that.
Sarah, though the other team was difficult to handle, your on field poise was great, and you constantly provided an outlet ball for Kara, creating several great passes in the process. Keep that up!
Leah, I cannot say enough about your hard work solidifying the back line. Your partnership with Sam is a joy to watch, and your individual grit and determination are an inspiration to the whole team.
Sam, Your energy and tenacity serve to set a great defensive tone for us, and you never quit on anything. I love your willingness to go in hard on a tackle, and your partnership with Leah is a special thing.
Olivia, in your first game back, you stepped up and provided great cover on the flank. You kept good positions, and you supported the midfield when it was required. I am proud of you, and I look forward to seeing you grow!
Paige, no need to hang your head. Early on you made a fabulous save when they rifled a shot straight at your face – you held it! Other goalkeepers would have struggled with that shot, but you made it your own. Great job! We will continue to practice.
Debbie, I love your attitude, and I also love your willingness to throw yourself into the midfield battle. You broke up several of their attacks, and I am confident that you will continue to do so into the future.
Justice, though you did not start, you provided good minutes in central midfield, and I am proud that you are on the team. Keep working hard, and you will get your chance to shine. Your attitude is a great one!
Abby, your positive spirit and absolutely unquenchable drive to play are what every coach hopes for! Keep putting in the good work, and you will get your chance to shine, as well! I am glad you are on our team!
Janie, your ability to make solid contact with the ball is a positive in both attack and defense, and you are not afraid to mix it up with the other team. Keep that energy at the forefront of your game, and you will continue to grow as a player.
Kirstin, though this may be new to you, you slotted in well in defense tonight, providing solid cover when we needed and maintaining a good shape. Keep working on your game, and you will see the results.
Riley, your professionalism is matched only by your pace. I promise you, if you continue to show the same drive, you will see a huge growth in your game. I am thankful that you are on the team, because you are a great example for everyone else.
Chelce, even though you did not play tonight, you still showed great focus for the game, and I know that you will be ready when I call on you. Keep coming to practice and working hard, and you will get your chance!
Isabella, even though you did not play tonight, I know that I will be able to count on you in future matches. Your progress through the warmup tonight was impressive, and I am glad to have you with us this year.
I also want to give shoutouts to assistant coach Beth Ann (the best assistant coach in the land), as well as Marcy, Jordan, and Teri (who did great work keeping the balls in play and keeping the game going). Thank you all for what you do!
Wait a minute…did I just highlight the whole team? You bet I did. That is how proud I am of you. We need to take what we learned tonight and put it all into our next match this Thursday. I know we have it in us to be champions, and we took a giant step towards that today. Keep your heads high, and I will see you tomorrow. I am thankful beyond all boundaries to have the chance to work with you all this season.
Let me end this post before I start tearing up.
So proud of all of the girls! 🙂
Great job Lady Tigers! Thank you Coach Garrett!