Blaze learns lessons from loss

Blaze learns lessons from loss

Thursday marked NPFC Blaze’s third game, and it was tough one. It was a gorgeous spring day in the PNW, and Blaze went up against the SJS Elite Boys 2010 team Rampage. These 13- and 14-year-old boys have been playing together year-round for over four years, and Blaze knew going into the match that it would be a challenge. The sidelines were crowded with parents and kids supporting both teams.

“Good effort, ladies. It’s not an easy task to go against young, energetic boys! It was a competitive game, and you held your own for an hour against these rascals!”

NPFC Blaze Coach Juan Carlos Cisneros-Lopez

The scrimmage started and Rampage immediately put pressure on the defensive line and the goalie. Christina and Kelli started in center defense in place of our veteran defensive players Amanda, Kate and Jeni who couldn’t make the game. It was apparent that it would be hard to keep up with the speed and tenacity of the teenagers. The midfield and defense held Rampage off for about 10 minutes, but eventually, Alejandro Musso broke through and earned his first goal with support from the midfielders Tristen Weston-Webb and Coby Rocha. Blaze realized at this point that we were going to need to send more through balls to the top and hope that Olivia and Piper could capitalize. Unfortunately, every shot on goal was stopped by Rampage’s goalie Gabe Robbins and sent passed the midfield line on the strong return dropkicks. This is when Alejandro got a breakaway for his second goal. His speed and finishing were on point. The final goal of the first half came when Garrett Eldredge gave a beautiful cross to Coal Seamands at the top of the box for a volley shot into the corner of the goal.

At halftime, Coach JC brought the team together to address the issues from the first half. We discussed needing to quickly release the ball and changing the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3. JC talked to us about staying compact and leaving the wings open on the attack to maintain more control in the middle. We went into the second half tired, but feeling confident that Vianey, Olivia and Piper would make something happen up top.

During the second half, there was better release of the ball from defense and midfield, and some good through balls to the forwards from Lupita, Jess, and Kendra. The defense on Rampage from Bryant Lawson, Isaac Brown, and Jonas Packer was relentless, and the Blaze ladies couldn’t get to goal. Alejandro scored his third and final goal for a hat trick about 15 minutes into the second half after many incredible stops from goalkeeper Kelsey Chapman. Shortly thereafter, Beniah Sellmeyer scored the final goal of the game ending it 5 to 0.

Overall, it was a physical game, and all the Blaze women did not hesitate to body those boys off the ball. There were many boys complaining of the bumps and bruises received from the Blaze women.

After the game Coach JC said it best, “Good effort, ladies. It’s not an easy task to go against young, energetic boys! It was a competitive game, and you held your own for an hour against these rascals!” A big thank you to over fifty fans that came out to support both teams. It was amazing to have over 20 teenage girls watching from the sidelines and knowing that they have a soccer community to support them after high school.

Blaze next take the pitch, Saturday May 18, for a 6:00 p.m. kick-off vs. an all-star team of Port Angeles and Sequim High School girls. Join us at Peninsula College.

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