Sunday, November 10, 2013

Season Ending Loss

This blog is my toughest one yet.  Some weeks ago and with 4 games to play in the A10 we had our chances to get back to the A10 tournament all in our own hands.  Today our season ended on senior day as we failed to beat LaSalle and make it into the top 8.  Despite getting 4 results, three of them being on the road, 2 ties and 2 wins wasn't enough and our home form wasn't enough to get us over the finishing line. 

After Fridays poor performance I could not have asked for a more committed and hard working display today and after going down to 10 men after a second yellow to Rannalli meant he was red carded, much to the disbelief of us all, we still looked like getting a goal.  For me, when you play well and lose it harder to accept.  We had our chances today but our goal scoring ability has left us these past few games and as we battled to the end it was a tough way to end the season and for our seniors their last collegiate game.  

Much was asked about the officials today and I cannot blame them and refused to get into a debate about them.  One thing I will say is anytime an official is getting talked about more than what was a great game of soccer disappoints me.  

A great crowd today pushed the players all the way through the game so a big thank you to our parents, fans and game day event staff for all their support.  Thanks also to my coaching staff who have been through this roller coaster ride with me and experienced all the highs and lows of the season.  

Despite improved performances in the A10 we came up just short but we're certainly moving in the right direction.  All our returning players will learn from this weekends games and use that experience to help the program continue to make strides in the right direction and get to a position where we are competing for A10 championships. 

 Lastly, a great big thank you to my seniors.  Abdul I have known and coached since he was about 12 years old so it'll be odd not to have him and his family around.  The rest of of guys I have known and watched develop into great people over the past 4 years and I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I did.  May I be the first to welcome them to being a GW soccer alum and you're all invited to play on my team next Fall in our alumni game. 

I will be continuing the blog throughout the Fall and Spring semesters but now on a weekly basis so keep reading every Friday moving forward. 

Raise High Moment of the Day
Our senior class, Ranalli, Hinners, Sandland, Shaban and Solorzano  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bad day at the office

The day started with Dylan waking and seemingly getting better from the way he was running around the house but unfortunately Cerys took the sickness over so neither would be able to watch the game today.  Pre game meal after a visit to the gw bookstore with Liz was a half smoke each just like when we were both in college at gw but certainly not the healthiest choice.  

Todays game could not have gone any worse.  After starting the game well and then allowing the ball to bounce in our 18 yard box off a long throw and then concede a goal we did exactly the same at the start of the second half when again we started brightly only to have a defendsive mix up that cost us another goal and now we were 2 down.  The day would not get any better when 6 minutes later we found ourselves 3-0 down and any chance we had of getting back in the game quickly faded as the game wore on.

With everything in our hands going into the weekend to qualify  for the A10 tournament we now, at the time of writing, have to rely on other results going our way and us bouncing back to win on Sunday against a very good LaSalle side.  Cant begin to tell you how disappointing todays result was as I felt we beat ourselves and for the first time accepted defeat despite a late goal from Farhan Khan. 

We have to find a way to bounce back for Sunday as all is not lost and its Senior day so a win would be nice for our 5 seniors. 

Raise high moment of the Day
Half smokes with my beautiful wife

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Big Weekend

Last night I found myself watching an MLS (major league soccer) playoff game New York red bulls v Houston Dynamo.  After losing interest in the playoff race partly sure to DC United not qualifying I was interested in watching NYRB and if the team with the best record in MLS this season and winner of the supporter shield would finally get their hands on the MLS Cup after years of promise playing in one of the biggest soccer markets and being backed by endless cash streams from Red Bull it has again came up short.  Despite the likes of Henry and Cahill the Houston dynamo franchise knows how to win in the playoffs and once again as a so called underdog they won to advance to the next round.  Happy to see my old housemate Bobby Boswell still playing for Houston and what could be another trip to MLS Cup for him and Houston.

Last session today before our must win game tomorrow v St. Joes.  Scouting reports seem to have gotten shorter at this stage of the season as we know teams have changed and will be doing anything they can to win games so very often how you want to play and how you play are two different things when winning is the only thing that matters.  The league is so open right now that one thing i can guarantee about games this weekend is that we will not know the 8 teams going to the A10 tournament until after all the games are played on Sunday.  Some teams will know before Sunday but no matter what our result on Friday we are going to be in that pack that will be waiting until the final ball is kicked on Sunday so cant get anymore exciting than that.

Back to practice and what started out to be a fun day of shooting and crossing was spoiled at the end with one of our guys getting injured with just a minute to play.  A sad ending to what was a up lifting session and I hope they players can put that disappointment behind them and use it to fire them up for the game tomorrow.

A while back after chatting with a good friend of mine Bill Kelly watching some soccer games over a beer he began to tell me about his involvement with the Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Seemed a perfect way for me during Veterans Day Weekend to recognize all our veterans and the numerous student Veterans at GW and other local colleges at our game tomorrow.  If you are at the game tomorrow and see me wearing a poppy and camouflage OHT baseball hat then its just a small way to show my and the programs appreciation for all those who served, currently serve and all those who we have lost in the call of duty in our armed forces.  Thank You.

Raise High Moment of The Day
Feeling the build up for the game tomorrow within the group.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Big Weekend Coming Up

Just 2 days away from our biggest weekend of the season so far and it was back to practice after our off day yesterday.  I thought it was a good time to remind everyone what being a teammate is all about as we'll need everyone pulling in the same direction this weekend and everyone will play their role whatever that may be for each individual.  So, we started with a brief video "anatomy of a teammate" which after learning about it this week seemed something we could relate to as we plan for both games this weekend. 

Onto practice and after a team warm up we were into a 11v11 game.  Feeling we just needed the guys to play freely we let them go with no stoppages just letting them play and enjoying doing so.  After the first 20 minutes players started to settle down and we saw some moments of attacking quality that to be honest we've lacked the past 2 games.  It was nice to see the guys playing freely and creating chances but also we had the intensity that showed me players are pushing each other for starting spots and playing time this weekend.  We finished the session with a shooting competition hopefully to encourage us to do the same this weekend.  As I always say, if you don't shoot you don't score and if you don't score you don't win.  

Heading home early today to watch some champions league football and working from home, honest, my boy Dylan was there to greet me.  Unfortunately he's sick and has been really uncomfortable the past few days with a virus so sleeping is at a minimum but I guess I'm used to that by now with young children and going through this season.  

Raise High Moment of the Day
The DC weather, what a beautiful day today. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Blues

It was tough getting up today a very cold morning and still feeling the loss from yesterday but today's another day and I knew this week was important to get us mentally and physically back on track as we push to qualify do the A10s.  For the players it was a recovery session for most with a little soccer olympics and a little harder session for the guys who didn't get the playing minutes this weekend.  For me it was our final meeting of the semester for our coaches leadership academy so missing most of the session I was able to catch the end of the lift as the guys were put through a tough workout finishing with an intense core workout.  Tomorrow we will be off so treatments only for the guys and no blog.  

Tonight was also the last of my u10 girls clinic that I have been doing the last couple of weeks.  How different thy are from the ODP and college players I work with but certainly a lot of fun.

Lastly wanted to wish and pray for the continued improvement and recovery of Dan Black.  A part of our GW Athletics Strength and Conditioning staff and family he was involved in a traffic accident last week and has been hospitalized since.  He really is a atrong character and will need all his strength and our support as he continues his fight. 

Raise high moment of the Day

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Game Day

With a chance to go one step further toward making the A10 championships with our game against Mason today we unfortunately came up short.  Goals in both halves would give the patriots a 2-0 win and put them tied for first place in the standings.  

After a good week of practice I was really looking forward to the game today as the players seemed sharp te past few days.  It wasn't the case on the field as we struggled first half playing against a strong wind and a fired up Mason team that started strongly and put us on the back foot.  A couple of defensive mistakes gifted Mason their opener and despite not playing that well first half at 1-0 we were still very much in the game if we could play better and settle down a bit.  

We did just that second half with a better performance and sparks off the bench from our underclass men helping us rally and go in search of the equalizer.  It was not to be as we pushed numbers forward for an equalizer we conceded a second goal in the last minute to lose 2-0.  

On a positive note our women's team got the win they needed to qualify for their A10 championships and we will look to follow suit at home next weekend for our final 2 regular season games. 

Raise High Moment of the Day
Women's team win over Richmond

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Practice

After attending the GW volleyball game and win last night with Cerys it started the weekend off right.  A Colonials win on what is a busy sports weekend, as I mentioned in yesterday's blog, made me excited for practice today.  Watching the first half of Chelsea v Newcastle before I left the house I already had Dylan kicking the ball around before 8am much to my neighbors annoyance I'm sure.  Anyways, it was off to Mount Vernon and onto practice. 

Usual team meeting in our locker room before we got on the field to go over some final details for the game tomorrow.  A warm up by yours truly including a freshman dance off was followed by a shooting competition with the squad splitting into 2 groups.  How appropriate that we had a tie with 2 pairs of seniors going into sudden death in my group.  Shooting from outside the box on the dribble Solorzano started the sudden death shootout with a goal followed by Ranalli then Sandland then Hinners.  All 4 scoring taking it into round 2 of sudden death.  With someone blasted high into the tennis courts (you know who you are) it was left to Ranalli to just get in on target to win but he finished in style curling one into the upper 90.  To finish we ended with a 11v11 game and as we've down so many times this season we made it OT 20 mins or first team to score. After a entertaining 5 mins it was left to freshman Grevelink to get the winner and not sure if that's gonna count toward shaving off his beard as he waits for his first goal this year but it was awesome to see him score and the celebration that followed. 

After practice it was back home for arsenal v Liverpool and more exciting for me a late afternoon with the family and the mall.  After a power nap from both kids starting our adventure the afternoon became  early evening and then dinner before Dylan and Cerys started to get a little cranky (and me for that matter) it was time to go home.  

Southampton tied their game but gw volleyball won again to continue their great A10 season campaign so hopefully all teams participating tomorrow can continue the winning ways tomorrow.  Kick off High Noon hope to see you there

Raise High Moment is the Day
Freshman forward Jopus Grevelink's winning goal, the first of many as a Colonial