September 5, 2006
Winning the Nike Portland Invitational last weekend was great for our team. It is the first (hopefully of many) tournaments we have won, and it pushes our record to 3-0.
One of the unique things about this weekend is that almost every player contributed on the field. Our first game against Air Force saw a drastic change with five different starters from the weekend before. Nevertheless, the new starters saw this as an opportunity to show what they can do, and the guys that were benched supported them. As a result, our team performed well in the hot weather against Air Force, winning 4-1. And very notably, `Fisch' [Matt Fischer] got his first goal as a Husky! He broke his streak of missing his chances at far post by slamming in the first goal of the game on a volley. He argues that his first goal was in a Spring game, when no one is keeping track and nothing is really at stake. Coach Seth [Spidahl] gently reminded him that this is his first Varsity goal, whereas Spring season is more like JV.
The primary focus of our team after the Air Force game was correct preparation for our Sunday game. In the past our team has played great on Friday nights and looked like a different team come Sunday. This happens because we celebrate too much on Friday and take Saturday to just relax instead of preparing for Sunday. Our coaches know this and stressed that we treat Saturday like it's halftime of the weekend. To the players the most important thing is getting the W on Sunday. No amount of fun or relaxation on Saturday can lighten the pain of a loss on Sunday, so we all did our best to prepare ourselves for Sunday's game against Vermont.
Vermont had only taken one goal against in their first three games coming into our matchup and had tied UP 0-0 on Friday night, so we knew we were in for a tough game. Defensively, our team was great (like usual). Vermont only recorded 3 shots, and forced zero saves for our keeper, Rylan Hawkins. I will say that Rylan came up big on some crosses, and intimidated the opponent purely by his stature. Offensively, we seemed to have lost our fireworks. We didn't get a big goal production, or even a lot of quality chances. We did have two great chances at the beginning, with JoJo Katz hitting the post and George volleying one over the crossbar from about 8 yards out. The heavy amount of physical play along with our fatigue (it was the first time we have had a two games in three days) put a damper on our attack, but I believe the major reason is that we were missing forward Ely Allen, last week's Pac-10 player of the week. He missed Friday with a groin injury, and served a suspension on Sunday, so we look forward to getting him back. Our game winner finally did come though, from center back Ty Harden. His gold shoes found the ball bouncing across the box and the rest is history...
We depart for Milwaukee on Wednesday to play Wisconsin on Friday and UW-Milwaukee on Sunday. The center backs, who both got goals last weekend, will look to continue their scoring streak, while Ely and I will look to show them why they are center backs and we are forwards. Seriously though, we want to get the results that will put us that much closer to playoffs. We look forward to performing well this weekend, and then returning home for the Husky Fever Classic so we cana play in front of our home crowd!