A frustrating season came to an end for Blair girls' soccer on Oct 23. A lot of tears were frozen on cheeks as the Blazers lost, 1-0, to the Quince Orchard (QO) Cougars in the first round of the county playoffs. The girls fought as hard as always, shutting the Cougars down after a defensive lapse in the second minute let in the game's lone goal, but the team's familiar offensive problems prevented a win.
The chill slowed everything down and made the play on both sides much sloppier than usual. Blair outshot QO, but every strike was either wide or directly at the Cougar goalie. The Blazers' finishing has been a weak point all season.
In some ways, Blair actually improved over its performance during the regular season, most notably in the number of balls the team won in the air. Defensively Blair performed very well, stopping the Cougars time and again throughout the match. And when the QO forwards did manage to break through, senior co-captain and goalkeeper Erika Pelz-Butler took up the slack and stuffed several dangerous Cougar breaks.
The offense was its usual aggressive, unable-to-capitalize self. QO's defense did an outstanding job of smothering Blair's speedy forwards against the sidelines and up the middle.
Coach Robert Gibb commented that the game was a pretty clear microcosm of the entire fall. "It was our season in a nutshell," he said. "We played great, but a glitch here and a mistake there lost us the game."
The team came into the season with high hopes after last year's outstanding campaign, which was cut short by a devastating second-round playoff exit. But this year got off to a sluggish start, and Gibb rarely saw the fire that led the Blazers to a 7-0-1 finish last year. Instead, the team ended up 5-6-1.
Blair showed flashes of excellence all season, particularly in the victory over Walter Johnson, a team no Blair girls' soccer team had ever beaten.
Gibb gave a quiet speech of thanks to his players and to the loyal Blazer parents and siblings who gathered around the bench after the QO game, consoling his players and leaving them with an upbeat message about the year. "We had a good season, a good group of seniors and a team with a lot of heart. [They] don't always get it done, but they try their best, and as a coach, that's all you can ask."
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »