Saturday, April 26, 2008

@ Colonie

I went to Colonie expecting to win. We had a good practice Thursday and I thought we were ready. Then the game started, and it was clear to me that we weren't ready. Our intensity level was again low and our throwing, catching, and ground ball pickups were just plain bad. The only reason we stayed in the game the first half was excellent defense by Amy at the top of the zone and good play by the entire defense when they got the zone set up (as opposed to when we were in transition running back to play defense).

The second half was much better. Catherine made a lot of good saves, she cleared the ball well, and Amy went back on offense and helped move the ball up the field consistently. Daniella did a good job running the offense and ran 3 plays that we hadn't even praticed yet (I explained them to a few attack players on the bus ride over to Colonie).

It is worth mentioning that both of the refs were new (they told me this when I went to talk to them at halftime) and had only a beginner's understanding of the game (so far this year we have had good, experienced refs). They missed 2 propelling calls which would have erased 2 Colonie goals and given us the ball. They failed to call shooting space on Colonie numerous times (which would have given us free positions on the 8m arc each time). They failed to give Jordan her free position shot at the end of the first half because they didn't undertsand that the clock stops on every whistle when there are 2 minutes or less left in each half. When you add all this up we get close to a tie game if the game had been properly officiated.

What we need to work on: intensity, clearing the ball, getting the ball down the field to our offense as quickly as possible, a more structured attack.

@ Nisky

I'm not going to say much about the Nisky game. They were older and much more experienced, so that made it very difficult for us to have success anywhere on the field. The one thing the game made clear to me, however, is that our intensity level is way too low. The Nisky players clearly played at 100% from start to finish. We clearly didn't. We need to work on that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scotia and B-Spa

B-Spa -- Last season we killed B-Spa: 22-9 the first game, 17-6 the second. This B-Spa team is clearly much better than last year's team. Their defense was especially good. They double-teamed the ball carrier almost every time and it was working. Our defense was not good the first half. Some of the problem was bad calls from the refs, but we just weren't getting people back in the midfield and B-Spa was getting fast break after fast break. So ... halftime was 4-2 them and I wasn't convinced we were going to change that in the second half.

But we did. How? We were more aggressive. Amy won and controlled a number of center draws. We started passing the ball up the field forcing B-Spa to run a lot to catch up. We caught B-Spa in shooting space a number of times and converted those free positions into goals (we finally figured out that shooting low on a tall goalie is a good idea). Near the end of the game Amy and Kate played great defense and moved the ball into the midfield very effectively (even more impressive is the fact that they did this after getting zero rest the entire game). Lauren and Calea consistently moved the ball through the midfield getting it to Larissa and Jordan who handled the ball well. And (last but not least) Daniella was, again, a scoring machine. 2-0 (win streak!)

P.S. Yes, I know, I forgot to mention Catherine. Except I didn't because I'm doing it right now. Catherine is a great goalie. Without her 11 saves the score of that game is 17-10 (we lose). Her clears were quite good as well.

Scotia -- What a great first game! I think Scotia was the perfect team for us to start with. They were fast, athletic, and had good stick skills. Why did we win? We were pretty much as fast and athletic as them (their stick skills were better), but we picked up almost all the ground balls. That was huge. Our passing was also very good (I wasn't kidding when I said we had more passes in that one game than the JV team had all of last season). The last, maybe most important, reason we won was ... Catherine! What a great job in the goal. Almost 20 saves -- so many that the Scotia offense clearly got frustrated. A good start to the season ...