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Soccer advance, gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by TrooperBari, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Well-Known Member

    Just a quick note before you folks get your teeth into this. Soccer is my favorite sport, and being passionate about the game, it's the sport on which I feel I write the best. That said, please let me know if I lapse into jargon or assume knowledge of things a non-soccer reader may not know.

    Many thanks in advance for any knowledge you can impart.


    The gamer:

    For some competitors, three weeks without a game would be a maddening hiatus.
    For the Vulcan women’s soccer team, though, the extended break is a welcome respite. A battered and bruised University of Hawaii-Hilo side lost 2-0 on Monday to Concordia University (Calif.) in its final non-conference warm-up.
    Vulcan coach Travis Clarke said the reason behind his team’s slide in form eluded him.
    “It’s hard to explain,” Clarke said. “We played very poorly today. We had a couple girls mentally check out, some of them didn’t want to work and a couple asked to come off. We played a team that was more ready to play.
    “We have three weeks before our first conference game, and we could go either direction. How do you beat an undefeated Division II team and lose to two NAIA teams? We’re so young, it’s hard to know what to expect. It’s different every day.”
    UHH knocked off Central Washington 3-0 on Aug. 30 in its first home game, but replicating that form in two subsequent home games proved too difficult. The Vulcans fell 2-1 to Embry-Riddle University in Kona on Friday before Monday’s loss at Keaau High School.
    Injuries to key players have kept Clarke reliant on younger players to carry the load. UHH lost preseason All-Pacific West Conference defender Healani Leite-Ah Yo three games into the season, and 2006 PWC Co-Player of the Year Karen Weatherby is playing on two sprained ankles.
    Weatherby said not having a healthy leg to stand on is a minor inconvenience.
    “I’m just playing with passion, for the love of the game,” Weatherby said. “The team needs me out there to be successful. It’s my senior year, so I’m not going to let a few injuries hold me back.”
    Weatherby and junior Jessica Winslow were the only two upperclassmen in the Vulcans’ starting 11. Sophomores Kelly White and Megan Pachecano started, while the rest of the lineup consisted of true and redshirt freshmen.
    Concordia controlled the run of the play for the majority of the 90 minutes, outshooting the Vulcans 22-5. The visitors were consistently stronger and quicker to the ball as both teams played their third match in five days. The Eagles opened their season with wins at BYU-Hawaii (2-1) on Aug. 30 and Hawaii Pacific University (2-0) on Saturday.
    Brianne Wahrenbrock finished a breakaway in the 19th minute to put Concordia ahead 1-0. Zahira Montanez scored on a cross from Darlene Uriarte in the 48th minute to make sure of the win.
    Eagles coach Hamid Sedehi said he was pleased with the result, though his team did not have everything its own way.
    “The field hurt us a little,” Sedehi said. “We’re used to playing on a faster field. This is a good experience for us, though. They have grass like this out east, and we need to get used to playing on this if, knock on wood, we qualify for nationals.”
    UHH came close to halving the deficit in the 76th minute. Vanessa Butin got onto the end of a Kristen Grant free kick, only to see Concordia keeper Suzanne Torres scramble back and push the looping header behind for the Vulcans’ only corner kick of the afternoon.
    Jacqui Larocque prevented an even worse result three minutes from full time. The Eagles’ Trina McGee stripped the ball from Ashton Swiacki at the top of the Vulcan penalty box. McGee squeezed a shot past Randi Walters, but Larocque tracked back in time to clear the shot off the goal line.
    Vulcan players and coaches held a team meeting after the game. With momentum from the Central Washington win fading, Weatherby said the team must find stoutness of heart and mind to match the skill in its feet.
    “We’re just trying to get focused,” Weatherby said. “The skill is there, so we’re trying to find out what the problem is. We need to find where our heart and intensity is. We want to make sure all the girls are ready to work hard. If all the girls are able to get going, we’re definitely capable of winning the conference. Right now, though, we’re lacking heart and intensity in our practices and games.”
    UHH dropped to 2-4 with the loss, while Concordia improved to 3-0. The Vulcans open PWC play Sept. 22 at Hawaii Pacific before returning home on Oct. 4 to host BYU-Hawaii.
    Clarke said the next three weeks will be telling.
    “We need to heal right now,” Clarke said. “We have to get players fit. We have a lot more work to do than I thought we would at this point in the season. Our system needs tuning up, we need to fix the back line and we need to find 11 players who want to work hard.”

    Game notes:
    Miscommunication nearly derailed the game before it started. Sedehi said his team arrived expecting the game to be played in Hilo, but needed a helping hand from Vulcan men’s soccer coach Gordon Inouye to make the drive to Keaau.
    “We were going to walk to the campus to warm up and stretch,” Sedehi said. “Gordon left his practice, and he and a couple of other people drove us to the game. I only met him today, but he’s a great gentleman. If this is what Hawaiian hospitality is like, I’d love to live out here.”
  2. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Well-Known Member

    The advance (note -- not an advance on the above game):

    Mankind’s evolution should be this quick.
    One-third of the way through its second season of existence, the Vulcan women’s soccer team is undergoing another rebirth. Once a fledgling program getting soundly trounced on a regular basis, then a burgeoning attacking force on the back of a large recruiting effort, the University of Hawaii at Hilo now fancies itself a defensive stalwart.
    UHH leads the Pacific West Conference in fewest goals allowed, shipping 10 goals in seven games. Conference leaders BYU-Hawaii are second with 15 goals, though the Seasiders have played five more games.
    Vulcan coach Travis Clarke said this latest development came as a surprise.
    “The strange thing is, I’m an offensive-minded coach, and I recruited almost all forwards,” Clarke said. “I even have two forwards playing in defense right now. We recruited almost all attacking players, but our defense is what’s holding us together. We gave up 23 goals at this point last year. It’s a dramatic turn.”
    As the second-year team enters the heart of its 2007 schedule — a stretch which includes 13 games in 30 days — that newfound defensive edge could prove invaluable, although moving forwards Karissa Robertson and Ashley Werner, who have three of the team’s seven goals between them, to the back line raises a question as to who will supply the goals.
    Clarke said he hopes the combination of a healthy Karen Weatherby and a restructured formation will spark the offense. Weatherby, who scored 12 goals en route to co-PWC Player of the Year honors in 2006, has one goal in seven games while struggling with ankle injuries, but her coach said Weatherby is now at full fitness.
    As for tactics, Clarke gave credence to the old adage about coaches being the best plagiarists. After being overwhelmed by now-No. 3 Seattle Pacific University 4-0 in the Aug. 23 season opener, the second-year coach took SPU’s system to heart and grafted it onto his team. After playing with three defenders and five midfielders in the early part of the season, UHH will now play with four in defense and midfield, encouraging Robertson and Werner to get forward from their defensive spots and join in the attack.
    Robertson, a freshman who previously played with Clarke on his Atletico Madrid club team, said the change requires a shift in mentality.
    “You just have to remember your job is different now,” Robertson said. “You can’t mess around, just get the ball out. You can’t afford to be fancy. Some games I get frustrated at the forward, so being in the back is relaxing for me. In other games, I’d rather be up there scoring.”
    In addition to Robertson and Werner, fellow freshmen and former forwards Grace Hedemann and Lacey Schreiner also made the switch to defense. Robertson said she made a similar move in club ball, while Werner said she is used to moving around the field.
    “I just started playing defense in the last game at HPU,” Werner said. “For high school, I was a utility player, so I’m kind of used to it already. I’d rather be up top. It’s more comfortable for me.
    “You have to think more of a control game, not just going forward. You want to possess the ball more. We make runs forward, so we’re still part of the offense every time the ball is on our side of the field.”
    Clarke said the tactical move is “the natural progression” of his system, with the players already used to defending with three and having an extra player in midfield, and it also put a finer point on his team’s attack.
    “The girls are playing with a sense of purpose offensively,” Clarke said. “Instead of randomly playing soccer, they’re attacking specific areas.”
    The Vulcans, 3-4 overall and 1-0 in the PWC, host the bread of the conference sandwich this week. UHH takes on bottom club Chaminade University (0-8, 0-4) today at 5:30 p.m. at Keaau High School. The Silverswords are in the midst of a seven-match scoreless drought, failing to find the back of the net in 704 minutes after scoring the first goal in an Aug. 29 home loss to Central Washington University.
    BYU-Hawaii (7-4-1, 4-0), meanwhile, stands atop the conference. The Seasiders are also the only PWC team in the NCAA Division II Far West regional rankings, sharing 10th place with Cal State-Los Angeles. Seattle Pacific is first in the region and third in the country, one spot ahead of UC-San Diego in each poll. Western Washington University, a 2-0 winner against the Vulcans on Aug. 25, is fifth in the region.
    UHH hosts BYU-Hawaii at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the first match of a doubleheader. The Vulcan men, who open play on Thursday, follow the women on Saturday.
    Clarke said his team’s development bodes well for the rest of the season, provided it does not lapse into the form it showed during its worst performance, a 2-0 home loss to Concordia University (Calif.) on Sept. 3.
    “I don’t think Seattle Pacific and Western Washington would beat us like that again,” Clarke said. “We’ve improved that much. We might be better than we think. You just hope that Concordia game team doesn’t show up again.”
  3. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Nice work. I didn't stumble over any jargon but I used to play. ;)

    You really get that much space for women's soccer?
  4. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Well-Known Member

    Grazie, Flash.

    I make that much space for soccer, men's and women's (the high schools play in winter). We're awfully understaffed out here, but the SE makes up for that by giving us as much space as we need. Soccer has a good following and it's my best sport, so I let it fly.
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