Fight to the finish ends in 0-0 score
BLAZER STADIUM, Oct. 1—
Blair varsity girls' soccer (2-3-1) played an evenly matched game against Churchill, tying 0-0. The game altered both teams' outlooks for the upcoming playoffs.
From the start, the ball constantly switched sides of the field as the two teams cycled between playing offense and defense. Both teams had quick forwards to take the ball down, but weak offensive communication made the offensive lines unprepared for passes. Both teams relied on a strong defense.
Frustrated with the lack of goals, the Blazers found a new energy in the second half. They fought for the ball, and teased the onlookers with close shots and saves. Play became even more aggressive in overtime, leading to a yellow card on one Churchill player.
A slew of fouls and subsequent free kicks occurred for both teams in overtime. In a moment of apprehension for the Blazers, Churchill was awarded a corner kick in the last 15 seconds of overtime. Despite Churchill's aggressive offense, the Blazers managed to fend off the Bulldogs for the entirety of the game.
Going into the game, the Blazers knew defense would be key because they were so evenly matched with the Bulldogs. Last season, Blair beat Churchill in a close game that also went into overtime. Last night, the Blazer defenders were stunning, with quick responses, sending the balls to the attack as Churchill drew near. "Defense was phenomenal, everyone was hustling," junior goalie Sadie Isakower said.
In contrast to the defense, the Ladyblazers lacked cooperation on offense. "We were off, we were not finding each other as well as usual," junior midfielder Delia Trimble said.
Much of the lack of communication on offense was due to a change in lineup because of a number of injured players, including senior striker Lisa Bianchini. "Lisa is a speed striker and she would have given them trouble," coach Robert Gibb said.
With many players out for future games, the team needs to finesse skills to succeed in the approaching playoffs. "We need to work on making fast decisions, looking for players before passing the ball, and not letting hard balls throw us," junior defender Gwladys Chekam said.
The tough competition was good practice for the playoffs. "We just played 100 minutes without letting a good team score and that is what the playoffs are about- keeping good teams from scoring," Gibb said.
The Blazers were content with their performance. "We played our hearts out," Trimble said. "A tie is better than losing." However, a win over Churchill would have placed Blair in a more solid position for a top four seed in the playoffs.
Luckily, Blair has already played most of their challenging games, unlike other schools, and looks likely to repeat the title of Division Champion. "We have a pretty soft schedule coming up," Gibb said.
The varsity girls' soccer team will play its next home game against Kennedy on Oct. 3 at 5:00 p.m.
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