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Sept. 12, 2012

Cougars slink past Lady Blazers

by Sarika Ramaswamy, Staff Writer
BLAZER STADIUM, Sept. 11--

Girls' varsity soccer (0-2) lost to the Quince Orchard Cougars (1-0) in a 1-0 shutout. The game was reminiscent of last year when Quince Orchard defeated Blair in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

The Blazers were forced to play defensively for most of the first half. On countless Blair attempts to go on the offensive, the Cougars' defense successfully cleared the ball out and sent it back to midfield and proceeded to lead their own offensive. The Cougars had all the offense they needed however, early in the first half when the Blair defense let a Cougar attacker slip through on a corner and score the game's only goal. Under attack the rest of the night by the Quince Orchard offense, junior goalie Sadie Isakower held up but the damage had already been done.

Looking for the equalizer, the Blazers took off in the second half, leading an offensive attack on the Cougars. Blair midfielders, led by senior captain Anja Opsahl, used artful dribbling and strong passing to move down the field, and senior captain striker Lisa Bianchini took multiple shots at the goal. The attempts were in vain as the Blazers were unable to score and they were forced to take the loss.

The team played a stronger game in the second half, driven by their desire to reverse the outcome of the 2011 quarterfinals. "After their first goal, we were frustrated, and I think we used that," Isakower said. However, the Blazers felt that the lack of energy in the first half may have cost them the game. "We had more fire in the second half," senior captain Cherrah Barclay said, "but we should have been wanting it the whole entire time."

Another issue for the Blazers was the lack of shooting. Without a trademark scorer as they have had the past couple years, the Blazers were too tentative on offense often passing up good shots. "We overdo passing sometimes, and we just need to shoot more," senior Melissa Romero said. "If you don't shoot, you won't score," Gibb said.

The game was also extremely aggressive. There was a lot of close contact and two Blazers were injured during the game. The Blair attack especially was met with shoving and aggression from the Quince Orchard defense. "Bianchini was a handful for the other team, but she was getting knocked all around," Gibb said.

Coming out of the game, the Blazers have a new list of skills to focus on in practice. The team wants to address some of the issues they had during this game, such as energy and shooting. "We need to work on hustling and making shots quicker," Barclay said. However, they admit that practice does not always mirror game situations. "It is difficult to replicate the intensity of playing and shooting in a game versus practice," Gibb said.

In their next two games, the Blazers will face Gaithersburg and Northwood. The team is confident going into both of those games, as they have beaten them repeatedly throughout the years. The players hope to regain spirit after the demoralizing loss to Quince Orchard. "Hopefully we get our mojo back and get our feet back on the ground," Gibb said.

The varsity girls' soccer team will play its next home game against Northwood on Sept. 20 at 7:00 p.m.



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