Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, November 6, 2006 7:57 am

Tigers 2, Shakers 0; Tigers 4, Hot Shots 0

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 7:57 am

Victoria missed the Sunday game (a makeup of the recent rain-out), but Herb has the quick summary. In short, they finally put it all together for the last two games, playing like the team they’d been capable of being all along. And it’s no disrespect to the Shakers to say that the final in that game should have been more like 6-1 — the Tigers got off some excellent shots that just missed.

V., last night: “Oh, no! No soccer ’til spring! Daddy, what am I gonna do?” (Actually, she’ll be playing in an indoor league for much of the winter … just not with most of the Tigers.)

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Sunday, October 22, 2006 9:41 pm

Tigers 3, Ladybugs 4

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 9:41 pm

It was a beautiful day for a soccer game:

Bryan Park soccer complex, Field 8

In addition to Hooper, Victoria also had her Uncle Frank and his three daughters cheering for her. Here they are with Hooper:

Hooper and the cousins
The Tigers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, then gave up a quick own-goal, then kind of broke down until the fourth quarter. At that point, excellent pass routes and ball handling enabled the Tigers to pull to within 1, but time ran out before they could tie it up.

By the fourth quarter, the team was playing offense better than it has all year. Most importantly, instead of clustering around the ball, the girls were getting into position for passes, and regardless of who had the ball at any given time, that person was looking for someone in a good position to receive a pass. It worked well … almost well enough to give the Tigers a shot at a win.

Victoria had another great game on defense. Here’s an example:

Victoria on defense

See the smile on her face? This is her favorite part of the game: booming the ball well back into her opponent’s territory.

But she likes keeping goal almost as much. She had quite the busy time of it in the third quarter, too. I got pictures of nine saves, and there were at least four others I didn’t catch with the camera. (She gave up one long goal after she lost a footrace to the ball in the corner of the box.) This was probably her best save:

Victoria prevents a score

She was pretty unhappy about the loss, which was understandable, and about her own play, which was less so. The Tigers found their mojo in the fourth quarter; let’s hope they can hang onto it for the final two games of the season.

Sunday, October 1, 2006 9:32 pm

Tigers 0, Jellybeans (?) 5

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 9:32 pm

Oy.

Not much good here. Once again, our strikers tended to cluster around the ball rather than giving one another passing targets, and as a result, the Tigers spent all but about 2 1/2 minutes of the first half playing defense.

The third quarter wasn’t much better, but in the fourth quarter it seemed as if the Tigers started remembering how to position themselves for passes, how to anticipate one another’s moves and how to block opponents’ passing lanes. They got their best shots all day in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get them to go in, and even if they had, it would have been too little, too late.

No games next weekend because of the tourney.

Monday, September 25, 2006 8:08 am

Tigers 3, Lady Lumberjacks 6

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 8:08 am

Sigh.

Well, once again we had a little trouble getting it together, particularly on the offensive end; one of the Tigers three scores was an own-goal. (Erika and Zoe got the other two.) Everyone seemed to have had trouble getting open for passes and tended to cluster around the ball. Standing behind the bench taking photos, I sensed some frustration (to put it politely).

Must run to work; hope to write more about this game (and the perhaps-unintended implications of the opponents’ team name) later.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 1:22 pm

Tigers 3, Shooting Stars 2

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 1:22 pm

Victoria passes to a teammate in Saturday’s game. Photo by Herb Everett.

I was right — the Tigers did play better fundamental soccer today. That let them get their first win, over a team against which they were more evenly matched, from the standpoint of pure athleticism, than last week’s opponent. In fact, the Stars’ ball-handling skills were a little better than ours, but a win is a win.

Zoe was the MVP, mixing two goals with a stellar turn in goal. Mary got the other goal. Victoria gave up a goal in the fourth quarter to let the Stars tie, but she redeemed herself a few minutes later, when a wide-open Star attempted a goal shot just as Victoria was going down to smother the ball. It looked from the sidelines as if the ball got her squarely between the eyes, but in fact it hit her nose and mouth. (No blood, amazingly.) She had to come out for the rest of the game — two minutes or so — but the block inspired the team and Zoe got the winning goal moments later.

Our strikers still tended to cluster a bit and didn’t get forward quickly enough in the transition game — too often, a Tiger would be in Star territory facing a couple of defenders with no one to pass to. But the problem was nowhere near as bad as last week; what they’ve learned is starting to come back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 1:53 pm

Another tie …

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 1:53 pm

… but this one was a moral victory for the Tigers. Up against an older, bigger, faster team, they gave up two quick goals early in the first quarter. But rather than fold, they dug in, controlled the ball well, passed often and opportunistically and didn’t give up another goal in the first half.

Emboldened by their defensive success, they became more aggressive on offense even as they remained patient, passing frequently. (In fact, on one possession they passed one time too many and probably left an easy goal on the table.) They scored in the third quarter and again in the fourth, and rather than playing for the tie, they were still passing well, keeping the ball downfield and playing to win when time finally ran out.

V. played forward in the first quarter and defender in the 2nd and 4th, and kept goal in the third. She has historically been a better defender than forward, and she excelled in this game, ending opponent possessions time after time with quick interceptions and passes to breaking teammates. (Her defender partners, different teammates in the 2nd and 4th quarters, also played exceptionally well.) She had three saves in goal, none of them requiring much effort.

In sum, the Tigers did something they haven’t often done: played well enough to beat a much better team. Even by the standards of games involving one’s daughter, it was a great game to watch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:29 pm

Absurdly late soccer update

Filed under: Hooper,Tigers — Lex @ 10:29 pm

The Fusion are 3-0, having won 5-1 this past Saturday. Two of the five were own-goals by opponents. Hooper had two great shots go just wide, one near the end of each half. His regular coach will be out of town this weekend, so I’m going to be coaching. Me and six 4-year-olds. This ought to be amusing. As we parted this past Saturday, the coach said, “You know we’re undefeated. I’d like it to still be that way when I get back.

Me: “Yeah, well, good luck with that.”

Because of the scheduling, I didn’t get to see V. play, but the Tigers won. I’m told she played very well in a quarter as a defender and a quarter as a striker. The Tigers are starting to get their field vision and passing instincts back, it sounds like.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:58 pm

Fusion ‘n’ Tigers

Filed under: Hooper,Tigers — Lex @ 8:58 pm

Hooper played his second game as a member of the Fusion this past Saturday under a broiling sun. If Daddy had known it was going to be this hot, he’d’ve brought an umbrella, because the one thing about all those soccer fields at Bryan Park? No. Shade.

He played the second quarter and actually got off a good shot on goal that just missed. Most of the rest of the time he was just part of the pack of six 4-year-olds that chased the ball all around the field like six beetles chasing a marble, but at least he didn’t have to be told to chase the ball much this time. His team led 3-1 early in the third quarter when I had to leave to take Victoria down to the field where the Tigers were playing.

The Tigers lost narrowly to a better team, but V. had an excellent game, much better than last week. She asked, and was allowed, to play goalie in the second quarter, and her coach and I talked with her about playing farther out in the box and more aggressively gathering any balls that crossed the line. At first, from my vantage point behind the net, she looked a little lost in all that space, but as she smothered ball after ball — she would snag at least six in the quarter, four of them genuine shots on goal — she grew more confident, so that by the end of the quarter her posture had straightened, her demeanor had grown more aggressive and she was roaming the box, not lost in it. After giving up two goals last week, she needed this quarter as a confidence-builder, and her enthusiasm for playing keeper, which had waned briefly after last week, is stronger than ever now.

She played defense in the third and fourth quarters and made life a ton easier for her teammates in goal, sending kicks booming out of the backfield and back across the center line time and again.

She had borrowed a pair of gloves for her turn in goal, but this week she bought her own pair. And she can’t wait to get back in the box.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 12:14 pm

Wrap it up

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 12:14 pm

… and the Tigers finally did, playing on May 7 a game that got rained out in early April. They lost 1-0, playing well enough to win but running into an incredible run of bad luck in shots on goal.

But the Tigers of spring were far, far better than the Tigers of this past fall. Their dribbling and shooting improved, but the biggest improvement came in their seeing, and passing to, open teammates. That ability, and the corresponding defensive ability to see the open opponent and cut off passing lanes, kept them even in games they would end up losing, and unlike last fall, they won more than they lost.

One other difference: It never would have occurred to last fall’s Tigers to pose for a picture like this:

They do grow up fast, don’t they?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 5:49 am

In the trenches

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 5:49 am

The Tigers fought to a 1-1 tie on Saturday, and the game was a testament to the character of both teams.

Both goals were flukes. Our opponent scored on a long kick that wasn’t even intended as a shot on goal but happened to overshoot everyone, including our keeper, and roll into the net before anyone could catch up with it. We scored when their keeper came out too far and then slipped, leaving one other defender in front of the goal. We shot, and she used her hands to block the shot. Bzzzzt. Wrong answer.

V. just missed scoring when a shot of hers caromed off the goalpost. Otherwise, she had an excellent game on both offense and defense, controlling the ball well and regularly finding open teammates with her passes. She spent the fourth quarter in goal, recording two easy saves but mostly watching the action at the other end of the field.

Both teams played well, although the Tigers again did a better job overall of controlling the ball and keeping it in their opponents’ territory. And in the fourth quarter, when both teams were tiring, both continued to make excellent passes. It was a game no one deserved to lose, and for once, no one did.

Sunday, October 3, 2004 9:16 pm

The Tigers go 0 for the weekend

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 9:16 pm

The Tigers played games Saturday and today — the former a regularly scheduled game, the latter a makeup of last Saturday’s rainout. They lost both, but there was some good news.

We had to wait for it, though. The team lost 3-0 Saturday to a team no more talented than they. It just seemed as if everything the team had learned about going to the ball, about dribbling and passing, had just melted out of their heads. (Having practice on Friday rained out certainly didn’t help.) V., who was not at her best physically, sat out two quarters; her one bright spot was an excellent shot on goal that was only barely blocked.

Today’s game was lost by a more lopsided score — I think they finished with 7 to the Tigers’ 2. There was one player on the other team who I wouldn’t believe was 6 for all the money in the world — too tall, too fast, too good. We played a 2-and-2 formation instead of the normal three-up, one-back, to try to make our defense a bit stronger, but it did absolutely no good: The ringer, for that’s how I came to think of her, scored three goals in the first quarter and another one before halftime (teammates added either one or two more; I’m not sure which). But V.’s teammate E. got the Tigers on the boards just before the half.

And after halftime, the Tigers’ play improved pretty dramatically. E., playing forward, suddenly remembered to go after the ball. O., playing back, launched some dramatic kicks back toward the other team’s end of the field, something it seemed never to have occurred to the Tigers to do before. It remained a much closer, more fiercely contested game until the end, although the Tigers got only one more goal, also by E. (V. got off another excellent, but barely blocked, shot.)

V. was in goal for the 3rd quarter. She gave up one goal on a play on which she got so little help from her teammates that the other parents were yelling at their kids about it. The other goal she yielded on, quite simply, an excellent shot, in traffic, that caught her going the other way. She didn’t seem fazed by either one.

With the ringer in goal for the 4th quarter, the Tigers got off more shots but didn’t score. But they controlled the ball much better and seemed to have their heads more in the game.

It’s the season’s midpoint, and there are no games next weekend.

Monday, September 27, 2004 9:17 am

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 9:17 am

Well, this one was just a flat mismatch. These girls were bigger, faster, better passers, better dribblers, better shooters. The only thing surprising about it is that the final score was *only* 6-0 (and would have been 6-2 if two Tigers hadn’t been so shocked at the prospect of a wide-open, undefended net that they totally tripped over their own feet).

Victoria got an excellent shot off in the first quarter that the PPs’ goalie only narrowly snagged, but that was about the extent of her heroics at forward. She tended goal in the fourth quarter, blocking four shots and allowing no goals. (A teammate who hadn’t quite mastered the concept that, yes, when you’re the goalie it’s OK to touch the ball with your hands, allowed four goals during the third quarter.)

The Tigers actually played better in this game than in the last one; they were just hopelessly overmatched.

Monday, September 20, 2004 5:53 am

Tigers update

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 5:53 am

The whole weekend’s soccer schedule was rained out, of course.

We’ll try again this weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2004 6:18 am

Get your Tiger on, Round 3

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 6:18 am

Victoria’s soccer team, the Tigers, played its first game Saturday in its new age bracket. Three major changes here: longer game, bigger field and playing actual positions. It’s 5-on-5, and with only seven players on a roster (and one Tiger unable to be there), everyone got all the PT they could handle.

The bad news: All the Tigers seemed to have forgotten everything they ever learned about pulling the ball back. The good news: They adapted to playing positions better than I had expected, and they’re all obviously better dribblers now than in spring.

V’s stint in goal ended without incident, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Saturday, April 17, 2004 6:41 pm

Limping tiger

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 6:41 pm

The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter today, then cruised to a 6-1 win over the Buttercups.

E. scored the opening goal, after which F. netted three straight, two on breakaways.

The Tigers spent almost all of Friday’s practice working on stopping and passing, and it showed today: Their dribbling was more controlled and nuanced, their passing more deliberate and effective. They actually missed a couple of chances for breakaways because they were focusing so hard on short, crisp passes instead of the long kick, but it didn’t end up hurting them.

V. didn’t score (although she knocked it off the iron twice, once from between two defenders) but once again had some great defensive plays. She also played a ton of minutes. In the fourth quarter she got knocked down and landed on her right knee, but after a couple of tears she shook it off and kept playing. When the game was over, it looked a little swollen, however, so we brought her home, elevated the knee and iced it down. At this writing, she says it feels “very better,” so I’m relieved.

Final game of the spring season is next Saturday. Weather just like today’s would be perfect.

Sunday, April 4, 2004 11:52 am

Career coaching record: 0-1

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 11:52 am

The Tigers led the Daisies 3-1 after the first quarter, and I thought my coaching career was off to an auspicious start.

Bzzzzt. Wrong answer. We didn’t score again and lost 5-3.

I’m not sure why. Part of it seemed to me that although the Tigers had the energy to get back and play good defense, they didn’t quite seem to have enough left to put it away at the other end. Slightly poor shooting hurt, too; two unopposed shots clanged off the iron.

But the team did its best ball handling and protection of the season. Victoria had several great pullbacks (“great” = pulling it back so hard and sharply that all the Daisies overran the ball, giving the Tigers a chance to race downfield for an unopposed shot) and scored a goal. But especially at the end, when everyone was tired and a couple of players were hurting, they couldn’t quite put it away.

No games next weekend because of Easter, and the regular coach returns the week after that.

Whew.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 8:29 pm

Getting tigered up

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:29 pm

Big soccer weekend for V — her team not only had to play its regular game Saturday, it also had to make up a game on Sunday that had been snowed out in the season’s first weekend. Yeah, you read that right. Snowed out. In North Carolina.

Saturday’s game was against the Dominoes, who were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher. They led by as much as 4-1 before the Tigers got tigered up late in the second half. Victoria scored the tying goal with 1 minute left on a spectacular play (well, spectacular for a 5-year-old who only started playing the game in September), outdribbling a pair of defenders and launching a perfectly angled kick from far to the right of the goal that just kissed the far post before hitting the net.

Unfortunately, the Dominoes got two breakaway goals in the last minute to account for the final margin.

This afternoon’s game was against the team with the best name in the league, the Mini Mias. And there was nothing mini about them, particularly the two Amazonian blondes who took the field in the second and fourth quarters (the third member of that trio was Victoria’s friend A. from church choir). Another Tiger’s dad joked about asking to see their birth certificates. At least I think he was joking. He wasn’t smiling.

They, too, were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher (one girl cleared out with her left arm in a way that would’ve gotten five fouls in a hurry in an ACC basketball game), and they ran to a 5-2 lead.

But they also made the mistake of bringing the Tigers up to their level of play. Well, not quite, but darned close: The Tigers made up in speed what they lacked in dribbling and passing skill, and Victoria and her teammate O. each scored twice in route to a tied 5-5 final. (One of the Tigers’ goals came an own-goal from one of the Mini Mias, but still.) The coach’s daughter didn’t score but made at least two goal-saving defensive plays, as did another Tiger, A. Coach and I both shook our heads at the outcome; I’d figured they were going to beat us by at least four.

Victoria, who can have very tender feelings sometimes, told me afterward, “Daddy, one of those girls kicked me in the leg and it hurt and it made me sad and I wanted to come out of the game, but I just kept playing because I wanted to win.” I’m going to count that as a lesson learned.

Here’s the funny part: Neither regular coach can be here next week because of a Boy Scout camping trip and a new baby, respectively. So I, who last played soccer more than 30 years ago, will be coaching Friday’s practice and next Saturday’s game. Any and all tips appreciated.

Stay tuned; this ought to be entertaining.

Getting tigered up

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:29 pm

Big soccer weekend for V — her team not only had to play its regular game Saturday, it also had to make up a game on Sunday that had been snowed out in the season’s first weekend. Yeah, you read that right. Snowed out. In North Carolina.

Saturday’s game was against the Dominoes, who were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher. They led by as much as 4-1 before the Tigers got tigered up late in the second half. Victoria scored the tying goal with 1 minute left on a spectacular play (well, spectacular for a 5-year-old who only started playing the game in September), outdribbling a pair of defenders and launching a perfectly angled kick from far to the right of the goal that just kissed the far post before hitting the net.

Unfortunately, the Dominoes got two breakaway goals in the last minute to account for the final margin.

This afternoon’s game was against the team with the best name in the league, the Mini Mias. And there was nothing mini about them, particularly the two Amazonian blondes who took the field in the second and fourth quarters (the third member of that trio was Victoria’s friend A. from church choir). Another Tiger’s dad joked about asking to see their birth certificates. At least I think he was joking. He wasn’t smiling.

They, too, were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher (one girl cleared out with her left arm in a way that would’ve gotten five fouls in a hurry in an ACC basketball game), and they ran to a 5-2 lead.

But they also made the mistake of bringing the Tigers up to their level of play. Well, not quite, but darned close: The Tigers made up in speed what they lacked in dribbling and passing skill, and Victoria and her teammate O. each scored twice in route to a tied 5-5 final. (One of the Tigers’ goals came an own-goal from one of the Mini Mias, but still.) The coach’s daughter didn’t score but made at least two goal-saving defensive plays, as did another Tiger, A. Coach and I both shook our heads at the outcome; I’d figured they were going to beat us by at least four.

Victoria, who can have very tender feelings sometimes, told me afterward, “Daddy, one of those girls kicked me in the leg and it hurt and it made me sad and I wanted to come out of the game, but I just kept playing because I wanted to win.” I’m going to count that as a lesson learned.

Here’s the funny part: Neither regular coach can be here next week because of a Boy Scout camping trip and a new baby, respectively. So I, who last played soccer more than 30 years ago, will be coaching Friday’s practice and next Saturday’s game. Any and all tips appreciated.

Stay tuned; this ought to be entertaining.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:53 am

Taking it out of her

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 11:53 am

The Tigers lost 4-3 to the Groovy Girls Saturday, and given how much faster the GGs were, the Tigers did well to keep the score so close.

We got there just as the game was starting, so V. sat for the first quarter. As the teams lined up for kickoff, she said, “They’re small.” And so they were, but boy, could they run. They scored almost immediately.

Victoria scored a goal in the third quarter. A teammate had sent the ball well into GG territory, and the entire pack loped off in pursuit. V. started toward the back of the pack, but by the time the pack got to the ball, it was her little orange-clad leg in front, kicking it straight in from about 10 feet out.

She played the second, third and most of the fourth quarter because the Tigers were short one player (who was at Disney World, so don’t feel bad for her). Afterward, rather than asking if I’d seen her score, she said, “Boy, scoring that goal took a lot out of me.”

It must have. She pretty much passed out as I read to her at bedtime from “The Phantom Tollbooth,” not the most soporific of novels.

Friday, March 5, 2004 8:25 pm

Roar of the tiger

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:25 pm

Victoria’s soccer team, the Tigers, opened their spring season with a resounding 6-3 win over the Ladybugs. (The actual opening game was supposed to have been last Saturday, but it got snowed out.)

The Tigers all appeared to have grown over the winter (Victoria now might or might not be the smallest team member), but they also seemed a little rusty in their dribbling, shooting and ballhawking instincts. That, combined with the opponents’ skill, made it a closer game than the score would indicate.

V’s skills appeared to have atrophied over the winter even more than her teammates’ — she didn’t make any major mistakes, but neither was she executing the kind of crisp passes and quick defensive moves she had learned by the end of the fall season. Early in the second quarter, another player stepped down hard on her right foot (accidentally), and her speed suffered for the rest of the game, although her attitude did not.

It poured all morning and past noon, but by the 3 p.m. game time, the sun was out. The field was in excellent shape — those Bryan Park upper fields drain very nicely. It was very windy, and Hooper got a little chilly on the sideline, but I thought it was a nearly perfect day for a win.

Saturday, November 1, 2003 5:25 pm

Season ender

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 5:25 pm

The Tigers played their final game of the season today and went out winners. The final was Tigers 13, Pumpkins (no, I’m not making that up) 7, but it was over early: They led 6-0 after the first quarter, and one Tiger, K., made another six goals in the second quarter to put it away.

V. played the first and third quarters, scoring no goals but once again playing inspired defense. Late in the third quarter she slid in from the side to block what would have been a certain short-range goal.

Her coach had lots of compliments for her team play, attitude, work ethic and improvement. And she had a lot of fun and is planning to play again in the “spring” (practice actually begins in late February, which is early enough in the year here for the weather to be pretty treacherous). I think playing also has helped her confidence: She has learned that if she tries hard at something she’s not (yet) good at, she can get better, a lesson she has applied to other things, including ballet and reading.

Monday, October 27, 2003 8:59 pm

Battered but unbowed

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:59 pm

The Tigers played their best game of the season on Saturday … and still got killed.

The other team wasn’t particularly good, with one exception who was phenomenal: a little girl, even shorter than Victoria (who’s the shortest girl on her team), who had more speed and better ball-control skills than anyone else on the field. In fact, I think she could’ve been competitive with 9-year-olds.

I know for a fact that there’s only one other person I’ve seen execute a 135-degree cut with the speed and grace she showed … and that was the late Walter Payton.

I think the final score was 9-3, and this girl scored seven of the other team’s goals. Victoria had a goal, and if soccer recognizes assists, then she had assists on the other two. She also made some stellar defensive plays, including at least two that prevented goals, and was the only Tiger who could even come close to keeping up with the other team’s little star’s breakaways.

Hard to believe, but the last game of the season is this Saturday. Memie will be here for it. Note to self: This time, let’s remember to bring the camera.

Sunday, September 21, 2003 8:20 pm

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!

Filed under: Tigers,Victoria — Lex @ 8:20 pm

I got to V.’s game on Saturday just before the first quarter ended, and just as I arrived, the Tigers scored.

It was a good omen, as it turned out — the Tigers won 9-3, making them 1-2 on the season. The opponent wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but the Tigers had gotten dramatically better individually and collectively.

That they had was mainly thanks to the drills through which their coach put them Friday evening. It was a good practice — so good, in fact, that V. and the coach’s daughter prevailed on the coach to stay late and work with them on shooting for another 20 minutes or so. And when the Tigers came out on Saturday, they were hungry.

They all were running faster, running to the ball more quickly, cutting off passing lanes better and pulling the ball back sooner, harder and with more confidence. One of V.’s teammates, O., made a spectacular pullback that prevented an opponent’s shot from scoring.

And in the fourth quarter, V. found herself with the ball, unopposed, perhaps 8 feet from the opponents’ goal. She didn’t hesitate, and she netted it dead center.

Officially, of course, no score is kept in the under-6 league, and Ann and I try never to talk about the score and always to talk about only having fun and getting better. But there was no fooling V. on Saturday. “Daddy,” she said to me afterward, “you know that if this was a real game, we’d have won.”

Sunday, September 14, 2003 1:36 pm

Better

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 1:36 pm

The Tigers lost again yesterday, 7-4. But they played much better than they had a week ago, against a team substantially better than last week’s opponent, and the game was closer than the final score indicated.

Just for starters, the other team scored two goals on long, rolling breakaway kicks after a kickoff (the under-6 teams play without goalkeepers). Subtract those, and it was a closely contested 5-4 contest.

The Tigers as a team were faster this week, more aggressive toward the ball, better at passing and better at pulling the ball back. The two goals mentioned above notwithstanding, the game could’ve gone either way; indeed, the Tigers were threatening to score again when time ran out.

Victoria played very well and aggressively, making some excellent defensive stops. But she missed most of the second half after bending her right pinky back so badly it swelled. Still, she had a good time and is looking forward to next Saturday, which is the whole point.

Friday, September 5, 2003 8:13 pm

She’s a Tiger now

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:13 pm

V. played in her first soccer game today. She had a couple of nice stops, and she had a good time.

A less emotionally involved observer might have noticed that the Tigers lost to the Wildflowers 8-1 (the GYSA doesn’t keep score in the younger kids’ games, which I think is a fine idea), that the Tigers’ only score came when a Wildflower kicked the ball into her own goal and that at any given time, two of the three Tigers on the field looked more like innocent bystanders than players. But V., who had confessed to a serious case of pregame jitters, said afterward that she wanted to play another game right away.

She’ll have to settle for next Saturday, but I think that’ll be OK with her.

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