Katie's aunt lives down in Atlantic City, so over the weekend that we played there, we stayed at her aunt's house! We drove down Friday night and walked the boardwalk. Saturday, we got up for a morning run and then spent the day on the beach. We both got burnt, but Katie got it worse ; ) Sunday, we kept it on the down low and played a little mini golf on the boardwalk. I'd like to announce that I beat Katie by 5... yes, 5... strokes!!! 2 for 2 in mini golf this summer--both games against Katie : D
@ AC Diablos
Sunday night, we met up with the team at AC Diablos' stadium and played a great game! I FINALLY got to do something other than take a goal kick, a punt, or clean up a thru ball or a cross!!! They started off the game by getting a freak breakaway and putting it away--their first threat of any kind on our half of the field. Down 0-1. Honestly, if we had gone into halftime with that score, I was ready to rip up the team. We weren't playing very well, or with purpose, and obviously not finishing. However, we scored two in a row just before halftime.
Late in the second half, AC came down the field and a girl took a shot that had the far lower left (her left, my right) side-netting written all over it. I was like, NO WAY is this gonna happen. Not on my watch! I threw myself horizontal to my left and tipped the ball wide... rolling in such a way that I got to see the ball literally curve JUST around the post and out of bounds. It was so surreal and amazing, words don't give it justice in explaining it!! I was like, did that just happen?! Still leading 2-1.
We went on to win 3-1, knocking AC Diablos out of the playoffs... for the second straight year : )
We finished the season in 3rd place with a 7-1-2 record. Loss to Boston. Ties to Maryland and Long Island. We were pretty set on having to host Philly, Bay State or Millburn...
However, the league decided to shake things up a bit, and re-structured the 8 playoff teams by ordering them by difficulty of schedule. So, instead of being in 3rd and hosting a first-round playoff game, we somehow got placed 8th and had to travel up to Boston!!
BOSTON (east quarterfinals)
We started up on Friday night, driving about halfway. Stayed in a hotel that night, and traveled the rest of the way Saturday.
Talk about being stoked to play. Coming into the game, I knew that if there was any game in the past two seasons that I'd get to do anything, it was going to be tonight. I was ready, to say the least. Our team is amazing, and because of our amazingness, I didn't have to do anything hard back there in goal for the past two years. Combined, I may have made 10 saves altogether in the past two seasons. No lie. And of those 10 saves, only 2 of them were hard. I was ready to show everyone what I'm made of!
The game started off super intense and crazy for the first 20 minutes as Boston threw everything forward while we were trying to adjust to the fast surface (super-short turf grass field). Boston players were using every single trick in the book to try and get through. We were bending, but we weren't breaking. I was trying to get my bearings as the faster surface threw off my judgment of thru balls, getting lucky that my hesitations weren't costing me or the team. I'll admit, I was jittery at first.
Their first real shot came along. I don't really remember how anything happened, but a ball was coming diagonally across the top of my box. I started to go out to get it, but it hit off one of my defenders. Quickly, I realized I had to get out of no-man's-land and back in goal, because the ball was landing straight into the path of a Boston girl, coming straight on goal. She unleashed a rocket of a shot from about 20 yds out that was definitely going to dip just under the crossbar. I got back just in time to extend up and tip that crap over the bar. Ridiculous. I remember thinking, that was sick! That's a shot you see on TV and you're like, that's in. And I said, nope. The girl who came in to mark me during the ensuing corner kick was like, that was a "hell of a save, Keep. Wow! That was dipping in and I don't even know how you saved that. That was amazing." (ahhhhhh!!!! speechless)!!!!
Later in the half, one of my defenders got schooled and suddenly, I was caught in a breakaway just inside the top of the 18. For whatever reason, the girl just laid into the shot (instead of dribbling in and schooling me, which is what I was expecting). It literally came straight to my face, just a slight bit off to the right side, and I somehow got my hand up enough and got enough of a touch on it to send it careening out of bounds for a corner. It was one of those shots where I knew I may have gotten a little too much of my hand on the ball, and didn't want to turn around, because I thought that it could have slowed it enough to put it in the net. Luckily, not.
We escaped the first half 0-0. The second part of the half was much better as we began to acclimate to the surface and started making holes in their defense. Now, it was game on!
Second half was even sweeter than the first!! We came out and scored a goal within 5 mins of kickoff. Suh-weet!!!! Erin "freakin" Hench scored... I love that girl! So we're up 1-0. About 20 mins into the half, we turn the ball over in the midfield, and before I know it, I've got a girl lacing a ball to the the far upper-90 (my left). I was like, "oh no you don't!" and literally laid out horizontal 4 feet up in the air and parried the ball to my left. It dribbled towards the sideline, Carli Brill (LOVE that girl!), got the ball and passed it up to midfield. Not more than one or two passes later, Emily "flippin" Peters (LOVE that girl!) was putting that ball in the back of their net. 2-0. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
However, on the ensuing kickoff for Boston, they came down and absolutely laced a perfectly dipping shot for the far upper-90 (my left). It literally kept rising as I leaped up to try and tip it, and came down right as I started falling back down. I mean, really?! I just couldn't pull another trick out of the hat. Up 2-1 with 25 mins remaining-ish (there was no clock, so the last 25 mins felt like an eternity)!
Those last 25 mins were excrutiating (no scoreboard with the time ticking down). Boston threw anything and everything forward. We were playing pinball inside the 18 most of that time. It was insane, crazy, nerve-racking, and annoying all at the same time! Luckily, nothing got through. Their GK, Phillips (GREAT GK, by the way... better than me), was playing extremely high, as another attacking player. At some point, we got the ball to Katie out at left midfield, where she was being defended by Phillips. She juked her with a fake, got around her, and simply hit the ball "in the general direction" of the goal. Doesn't it flippin' go in?!?!?! Up 3-1.
We went on to win that game 3-1. Boston gave us our first loss of the season in our first game. We repayed them with their first loss of their season, and an early--and very unexpected--exit from the playoffs. Ummm...PERFECTION!!!!!!
I couldn't have been prouder of my teammates!! We were spectacular! I got so many comments and probably sounded cocky as I was like, "this was my time to shine" and "that game was to make up for having nothing to do for all of the past two seasons!" But it was simply a testament to just how good we are.
Here are some articles written after this game:
WPSL write-up of game: http://www.wpsl.info/news/index.php?cat=1&id=811
Boston's write-up: http://www.soccer-new-england.com/Aztecs-Burned-by-Inferno.html
New England write-up: http://www.neaztec.com/AboutUs/NewsArchive/News_July2009_WomenPlayoffs/tabid/10471/Default.aspx
WPSL Team of the Week: http://www.wpsl.info/news/index.php?cat=1&id=812
MILLBURN (east semifinals)
Hosted Millburn at our field! For some reason, left their tallest player unmarked on their first corner kick of the game. Down 0-1. In second, and final, blunder of the night, decided to not mark someone coming through on a crossed ball. Down 0-2.
Luckily, we turned it around in the second half, and scored 2 great goals. Ended regulation and two overtimes 2-2. On to PK's. Coach says, "who is confident in taking a PK?" Surprisingly, my hand was the first one up. We gradually got all five kickers, with me kicking 3rd.
There were two ball girls sitting over where the "18" meets the end line. They were asking if I was nervous and I said a little. But that I was ready! I talked to them between each kicker.
Did my best job ever in "guessing" correctly with which way to dive on all kickers but the first. However, wouldn't you know it, all four of them hit as side-netting as you can get--just inside the posts. Gosh, it would have been a super way to advance to the finals, if the girls from Millburn hadn't hit their shots so perfectly! I mean, I gotta give 'em credit, they got the job done, and they got the job done well!!
Oh, and I stepped up and NAILED my PK...perfectly into the side-netting, 4 feet off the ground. Take that! My 3rd PK made in my 3rd losing effort... : /
All-East Conference Team: http://www.wpsl.info/news/index.php?cat=1&id=822
It was a super great season! Thanks to Coach Doug for giving us the opportunity to play and further our skills and possibly our futures.