The Blazers’ senior night game resulted in another shutout as a result of brilliant defensive play
On Oct. 22, the Blair Blazers (11-1) beat the Northwest Jaguars (7-5) with a score of 1-0. This marks the Blazers’ fifth shutout of the season, and it was a stellar way for the team to enter the playoffs.
The Northwest Jaguars played an aggressive game from the start, maintaining a good amount of possession of the ball. Much of the preliminary play took place on the defensive side, and the Blazers were tasked with keeping as many Northwest players away from the goal area as they could.
The Blazers would frequently manage to move the ball across the field to the offensive side, but Northwest players were quick to catch up. Senior Ellie Cardillo played a key role in moving the ball toward the Northwest goalie. With 27 minutes remaining in the first half, Cardillo attempted to score a goal, but ended up tripping over the Northwest goalkeeper’s feet and tumbling on the field. Play was paused as a health professional made sure Cardillo was not injured severely, which she was not. She came back to play in the second half of the game.
Throughout the game, the Jaguars consistently stole the ball from Blair players. In response, the Blazers lobbed passes throughout the game in order to get the ball over clusters of Northwest players. Blair received a free kick with 18 minutes left in the first half, and captain Tilelli Zahar scored a goal a minute later.
The Blazers understood that they would have to modify their defensive strategy to effectively ward off Northwest’s offense. Sophomore Eliza Warren, a Blair defensive player, commented on the challenges Blair defense players faced during the first half. “We were doing a pretty good job of marking [Northwest players] and following them, but there [were] a couple of times when there was a player who was just open and ready . . . and one of the players who should have been marking them was not,” Warren said.
Sophomore Eliza Palmer, another defensive player, echoed this sentiment, expressing a need for a different defensive strategy. “We probably need to do a better job of covering the space. We need to watch their counter-attack because they play really fast. I think just moving the ball faster and predicting their next move is important,” Palmer explained.
In the second half of the game, Blair changed their play to combat the Jaguars’ aggressive offense. Blair added a second defensive midfielder to cover more space on the field and to make sure no Northwest player was left unguarded.
Later, Blair received a free kick after a Northwest player pushed a Blazer. However, a great save by the Northwest goalkeeper prevented the Blazers from scoring another goal. Blair’s defense was spectacular during the second half – players were exactly where they needed to be at all times. The Blazers’ solid defense led by goalkeeper Mandy Mozer prevented the Jaguars from scoring any goals during the game. The Blazers are entering the playoffs with an exceptional lineup of players, strategic plays, and outstanding team spirit.
The Blazers’ playoff schedule is yet to be released.
Maya Britto. Hey, I'm Maya (she/her). I'm a staff writer here at SCO. I'm passionate about music, dance, poetry, painting, social justice, quality time with my friends, ice cream (but strictly vanilla), and good bad jokes. Stay cool, y'all. :) More »