Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Gunners v. Westford Knights

 

Sept. 13th, 2020 | Westford, MA


Pandemic World
It is a new world we live in, to say the least!  With endless adjustments made to life in general, the same applies to soccer. To summarize some of the playing requirements:  All Must Wear Masks. No...Throw-ins, Heading, Sliding, Direct Corners in the Box. The list goes on, let's get on with it. 


Family Support
Before the season's opening whistle, a Special Moment of Silence in Memory of Avery's Uncle, Coach Mike Rice's brother's recent passing, was Observed. Our team is an extension of the Rice Family. We support them during this difficult time! 
 
Opening 
Westford Knights normally dominates the Lady Gunners on all aspects of the game. Last year, the Lady Gunners lost 4-0, without any chances of winning. How will they do this year?  

The first fifteen minutes of the game was a complete surprize, especially for the opponents. The Lady Gunners controlled possession, combined well in midfield, and had them pinned deep into their own defensive 3rd, with a couple of opportunities to score. 



Half - Time Adjustments
With the score locked at 0-0, the main concern from the Gunners' camp was to eliminate the possibility of a counter attack goal. To summarize the discussion in a quote, "Don't get beat on a counter, and the Knights won't beat you!"

Second Half - Struggles
The Lady Gunners struggled to find their form, offense, or energy the second half. The Knights realized it,  took over the game, locked the Gunners deep into their own half, shutting down any  hope of escape.  

The defining moment was the Knight's goal, which came from a counter attack, on their right wing, exposing the Gunner's slow recovery.  They managed a cross then a shot passed our keeper. It was disappointing to concede in this manner, especially after pointing out at the half. 
Final Result
It was a 1-0 final score in favor of the Knight! They deserve credit for weathering the first half storm, hanging on long enough to expose a weakness, and walk away with a victory. 
The Lady Gunners ran out of energy towards the end of the game; they will need to get in better physical shape in order to reach their limitless potential!

Players of the Match
The Lady Gunners have improved in all aspects of the game. Many contributed to this, with honorable mentions going to Sophia / Avery who shined on the wings, Aubrey who covered lots of ground in defensive midfield. 
However, our two outstanding performers who  made the most significant contribution were:
Alexis: tireless warrior in the midfield, who finished with energy, intensity, carried her team offensive hope, especially in the second half. 


Mollie: anticipated well defensively to disrupt attacks, win possession with poise, use vision to distribute the ball, and help her team launch attacks. 

Congrats to you both on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Game vs Franklin FSC

Oct. 20, 2019 | Princenton, MA


Another home game to enjoy! We have been spoiled with great weather, and numerous consecutive games at home.  Today's challenge was to get it done for two halves. Previous game showed potential where the Lady Gunners were effective for one half;  this one is about realizing that potential by getting results the entire game.
First half
The first half displayed two opponents testing each other's strength. Franklin came out with confidence, attempting to establish early dominance through wide play, shots, and crosses. Lady Gunners resiliently responded with quick counters, direct attacks, supported with a high level of energy. An uneventful half with the score deadlocked at 0-0. 
Half Time Adjustments
The Gunners' side addressed two major factors during our conversation at the half. 1- our midfield triangle composing of Maddie, Gabby, Alexis, had to be more centralized, produce consistent combinations, build attacks through the middle. 2- wide players had to provide width, generate crosses, which would result in more scoring opportunities.
Second Half
Franklin SC scored first, early in the second half. The Lady Gunners quickly responded within a few minutes to keep the contest even at 1-1. There was a sense of confidence growing from the Gunners, evident in their purposeful possession. Midfield established control, wide players got involved consistently on offense, defense transitioned effectively to disrupt dangerous attacks. 
 Final Result
At the end, the Gunners had to equalize twice to make it a 2-2 final, achieving their first point of a challenging season.  The improvements are reflected in their ability to score goals; something the group struggled with for weeks.  
Players of the Match
It was truly a team effort this Sunday. It takes great character as a group to produce results when facing such challenging adversities.  Our goal keeper improved by making key saves. Our defensive unit showed great fight, especially in the first half.  Our offensive unit showed up in second half to generate two goals. No question this one took a collective effort to accomplish!!
Congrats on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Game vs Medfield Warriors

Oct. 6, 2019 | Princenton, MA


At home once more for another battle! Our focus in training this week: finding ways to score goals! The Lady Gunners have done well possessing up to opponents' 18 yard line, without finding the net. Will they actually accomplish this today? Let's get into it!

First half
From the first whistle, the Lady Gunners had a strong sense of determination to accomplish their goals. The intensity to pressure ball was more vigorous than usual. Offensively, our triangular connection linked up well with the lone striker to create a formidable diamond. With all angles working the ball well, the Lady Gunners found a way to score twice, taking a 2-1 lead at the break. 


Half Time Adjustments
The main point at the half was obvious; scoring twice in one half was the long awaited breakthrough moment. It helped them realize they are capable. However,  the job was only half done, since there was a second period left to compete. Encouraged to repeat the performance, off they went back to finish!

Second Half
Warriors were awakened by this first half deficit, decided to throw everything at the Gunners. As usual, the Lady Gunners fought back, resisted as much offensive pressure possible. The resistance wasn't sustainable to keep their opposition at bay. 


 Final Result
At the end,  a 6-2 loss puzzled the group; how this could have happened? The answer is, once the flood gates opened, our squad couldn't contain it. The Gunners conceded too many goals without responding with scores of their own.  Another tough loss with positive take aways! 


Players of the Match
As usual, there are several options to choose from. It's a great problem to face in deciding our top performer. Our team's identify is: resilient fighters, refusing to ever give up regardless of the circumstances.  But this match, Gabby and Mollie were exceptional.

Gabby:  extra energetic, though we didn't think it's scientifically possible.  She used that energy to charge her team into a will to achieve. Especially in the second half, when they seem deflated. Scoring the first goal to get her squad moving in the right direction, controlling midfield play, and finishing strong,  it was an electrifying performance!


Molly: stabilized the defensive unit with her intelligent anticipation, poised ball control, sound decisions to launch offensive transitions. During her short break, major gaps were left unattended in defense. Not enough could be said about her value; we are fortunate she's back on the squad! 

Congrats to you both on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Game v Legacy Pride

Sept. 29nd, 2019 | Princenton, MA


Another sunny Sunday afternoon was a perfect setting for soccer. The Lady Gunners prepared well on Friday to get their offense in gear. Could it be the pivotal one that will transform their offense into a scoring machine? Regardless, these Gunners were ready for action!

First half
The ball movement was swift from the Lady Gunners. Combination from the front line was swift, fluid, efficient up to the opposition 18 yard line. However, crosses, shots, and set pieces  weren't always dangerous enough to convert into goals. Nice job displaying passing, getting closer to finding the back of the net, but still waiting for that breakthrough moment.


Half Time Adjustments
Clearly the Gunners were competitive; scoring a goal was the only objective, especially being down 2-0 at the break.  With such a score, the next team to convert a goal potentially could take control of the game. This factor was pointed out, as the opportunity was there for the Gunners.

Second Half
Legacy Pride came out with an aggressive approach, in an attempt to limit any potential comebacks. The momentum swings were consistent, with both sides taking turns controlling the game. Lady Gunners responded, sustained pressure, and made it a competitive outing.


 Final Result
At the end, it was a 3-1 defeat for the Gunners. The score did not reflect the balance of power.  The difference simply put: Legacy Pride converted their scoring chances into goals. Lady Gunners are still in search of their scoring form.  

Players of the Match
Tough to pick a clear winner for this award, which is a positive sign. The entire team had a strong performance over all. The midfield line had a phenomenal run on both sides of the ball. Transition from defense to offense was impressive. Outstanding performers for the line were Avery and Alexis.

Avery: was in great form with every movement on and off the ball.  Her wing play dribbling at defenders made her a dangerous threat all game.  Defensively, she hustled back with determination to win every battle. 


Alexis: made her statement early with her signature strong shot from outside the 18 yard box. Credit goes to their keeper for being up to the challenge.  Her through balls out of the midfield sliced the defense for excellent attacks and build up into the offensive third.

Congrats to you both on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Game vs MAF Sharks

Sept. 22nd, 2019 | Canton, MA


The Lady Gunners back in action on a sunny Sunday afternoon, excited to compete, explore the opportunity to bounce back from a tough game the previous week.  Friday's training session was a success where the team worked on defensive shape, transition to offense, with a focus on possession. An added bonus; Molly returned for the first time this season!


First half- Defensive Side
A sound display of defensive shape; not perfect, but effective from the Lady Gunners. The Sharks were sending long balls, which proved troubling at first. Once adjusted, the dangerous attacks were neutralized.


First half- Offensive Side
Gunners found their possession game early in the first half. By far, a much improved performance from their previous game, consistently connecting passes in the midfield; clearly a contrast from their opponent.  0-0 at the half; an even match up thus far. 


Half Time Adjustments
The possession was a bright spot, therefore encouraged to continue executing combination plays.  The challenge? Lack of scoring opportunities created: shot, crosses, fouls in the offensive were non existent for the Gunners. Our objectives was to create more chances in their end.

Second Half
Sharks came out aggressive offensively in the second half.  Gunners responded well enough to sustain; they are a resilient bunch. An unexpected down fall was the Lady Gunners' inability to cross midfield on Goal Kicks! Surprising, but clearly an advantage for the Sharks, who pushed a high line, won most of the kicks, went straight to goal every opportunity given. 


Final Result
Sharks broke the deadlock on a shot created from a corner kick. Their second goal hit our defender's back, went into the net; an unfortunate one. With seconds left, they managed a third for a 3-0 final. Lady Gunners played a competitive game, the score does not reflect that, but they lacked offensive potency in the final third. Our training session this week surely will address it. As usual this resilient bunch will respond well.
Players of the Match
Honorable mention was a solid defensive line, especially with Molly's return, stabilizing it with calm skills once in possession of the ball.  However, the outstanding players were on the offensive side. The two players  who consistently created sound offensive plays were Maddie & Ryan.
Ryan: excellent playing with her back to goal, controlling the ball well on her first touch, before deciding on her options.
Maddie: great composure on the ball, with sound vision to feed the ball into splits, space, finding the open player. 

Congrats to you both on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Game vs WKSC

Sept. 15th, 2019 | Westford, MA


The Lady Gunners came into their second game of the season with confidence, gained from their season opener.  Quickly, this group found out how fragile confidence can be.  From the start, they were pinned down by endless attacks, without any real response to neutralize this. 

First half- Defensive Side
The Lady Gunners could hardly sustain the offensive pressure WKSC brought consistently throughout the game.  Their opponent generated numerous shots, most saved by the our keeper, and gave the Lady Gunners plenty of defensive work.

First half- Offensive Side
Gunners had very few opportunities to connect passes, which is their strength.  The triangular combination in midfield was non-existent today.  WKSC simply did not allow our midfielders any time or space on the ball. With such pressure, no momentum was built; tough all around.   


Half Time Adjustments
With many questions to ask, few answers to offer, we identified one factor that could possibly help the Gunners improve; connect passes through the midfield. The few times executed, it brought some glimpse of hope, but short lived as WKSC really would not allow it. 

Second Half
WKSC had the skilled players, physical ability, and the numbers to sustain their dominance. Quite frankly, WKSC executed their game plan well,  and outplayed the opposition. Lady Gunners happen to be at the unfavorable end, but sometimes one must give credit where it's due. Though the Gunners kept the score close at 1-0 at the half, the final score was 4-0.  

Final Result
One thing we can always count on with the Lady Gunners is their effort; they never leave the field without giving all they have.  Honestly today, it was tough to identify that, but later found out many players had nagging injuries.  True to their character, nobody made excuses, but simply played through it. The plan now is to get healthy, have a great session Friday, and be ready to battle on Sunday!

Players of the Match
A week earlier, the Lady Gunners showed their potential; this week they were exposed. Both games present opportunities to learn, grow, and compete without making excuses.  The two standouts representing such characteristic were Aurore and Alyssa.  Both kept their side in the game, without their effort could have been a slaughter very early on.

Aurore: great job on your countless saves. 
Alyssa: excellent work leading the back, making goal saving defensive plays all game.

Congrats to you both on a well deserved Players of the Match Award!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Gunners vs CSP United_ Season Opener Fall 2019

Sept. 8th, 2019 | Cumberland, RI


The Lady Gunners opened their season this Sunday vs. CSP United, a very talented, physical team.  A few factors to point out: Gunners had no subs,  outclassed by size significantly, outnumbered, and a forward doubtful about playing (just getting over a stomach bug).  Most important factor: Lady Gunners never make excuses;  just guts, determination, and shear desire to succeed! 
First half- Defensive Side
With new players added this season, it's always difficult to determine how chemistry will develop. We did not have long to wait.  Defensively, the Gunners were sound. Everyone recovered quickly behind the ball when possession was lost, and sprung forward as a unit on offensive transition.
First half- Offensive Side
Gunners were potent offensively, showing flashes of brilliance at times, and possession with purpose.  Midfielders exploited wing play consistently, slicing thru midfield with accurate passes, creating numerous scoring opportunities; it was an enjoyable display of skilled passing to watch.  

Offensive Results
Gunners used  passing combination to their advantage the entire game. None better than the one when they switched the point of attack to the weak side, immediately combined back through middle with a one touch return pass. The ball was then crossed, creating a perfect opportunity deep in the box for Gabby to slot home a great shot for a 1-0 lead.
Half Time Adjustments
We simply asked the Lady Gunners to keep playing with the same intelligence, intensity, and sharpness. Only caution: slow down the game tempo, in consideration for potential fatigue towards the end, (playing without subs). 
Second Half
Physical play was blatant at times, though the Gunners were clearly at a disadvantage due to size, being younger, there was no sign of backing down. The officiating was consistent for both sides, therefore it was fair play.  CSP United equalized from a rebound created by a corner kick. A late penalty given gave CSP a 2-1 win.
Players of the Match
What they lacked in man power, size, they made up for it with heart, determination, and skilled play. The team chemistry displayed, toughest to carry through a physical battle, and great team character won the entire squad the Players of Match Award.

Congrats on a stella performance Ladies!

Gunners v. Westford Knights

  Sept. 13th, 2020 | Westford, MA Pandemic World It is a new world we live in, to say the least!  With endless adjustments made to life in g...