Out of the 80 minutes his team played Friday night, head soccer coach Mitchell Dehoff thinks the Lady Jays played 75 great ones. But, it was the five minutes in which they didn’t that ended up costing them.
“I think overall we did a lot of really good things tonight,” Dehoff said. “We came out at the beginning of the game and just challenged them to contest everything. Don’t let them have anything easy, keep the pressure on and make them work for everything they get. Because it was going to be one of the better teams that we play this season. I know we had one of our better games, and it’s unfortunate the score line doesn’t really show that, but that’s what happens. I think if we take those 80 minutes, 75 of those were great. And then there were just five, 10, 15-second stints where one mistake turns to a goal. It’s soccer; it’s a game where, if you switch off for five to 10 seconds, some bad things can happen. Towards the end of the season here, if we stay locked in we could do some damage and help get ourselves up the rankings before regionals.”
Seaman controlled the possession in Friday’s game at Junction City, working the ball gradually up the field and maneuvering from sideline to sideline. After an early Seaman goal, it struck again with just over 12 minutes to go on a corner kick to go up 2-0.
Seaman freshman Avary Polter punched in another goal after the halftime break off a rebound from JC goalkeeper Elisa Robinson to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the 34th minute.
The Lady Vikings continued their possession style of play, and it gave them sustained success. With a vast majority of the game being on the JC zone, Seaman was able to exploit the defense four more times. The Lady Vikings’ patience and discipline willed them to a 7-0 victory.
“It increases the time that you have to stay focused,” Dehoff said. “But if you stay locked in and you’re in good shape, it’s fine if they are passing it around midfield or are passing it with their backs. It’s when they open you up, and you get spaces in between and you can go forward that causes problems. For a majority, especially in the first half, we stayed behind the ball; we were disciplined, we didn’t go chasing in areas we didn’t need to. We let the ball come to us, and you’re playing against a team that’s going to have a lot of possession; that’s how you have to defend. If you let them pull you all over the field, they’re going to catch you up and get right through to cause more damage that way.”
With the ball mainly in Seaman’s possession throughout the night, Junction City had to make the most of their limited offensive touches. The scoreboard showed zero on the Lady Jays’ side, but the chances were there for them. Dehoff talked about their approach to having minimal time with the ball, and how to make the best use of it.
“You’re trying to find a way to get through,” Dehoff said. “When you’re sitting back and defending a little bit more, a lot of times that leaves the other team exposed a little bit. What you’re trying to do is find that one or two quick passes to get up into our forwards, and then turn and go from there. We did that fairly well in the first half; we got some opportunities going forward, we just weren’t able to get a good clean shot off. We made the goalkeeper work a little bit, but nothing that was too dangerous. A little bit less in the second half, but again we had our opportunities to go for it. We just have to find that final pass. And then when we get that chance to go on the counter attack and get a good clean hit at the end to really test the keeper out.”
The Lady Jays will look to put the loss behind them as they host Wichita Warriors Homeschool Tuesday night, a team they lost to, 3-2, just a couple weeks ago. But, Dehoff stresses that the key to team success down the road will be to focus off the field just as much as on it.
“The way we train, the way we act away from the field in our classes is going to reflect the way that we play,” Dehoff said. “If we are not 100 percent locked in everywhere else, how can we expect to be 100 percent locked in when we come out here to play? Those little gaps between being focused is what really cost us tonight. We really challenged them to be locked in on everything — in the classroom, with your families, when you’re out at practice. The more you do that, the more natural that’s going to be to come in the game. And even if we’re defending for 80 minutes you can stay locked in and keep competing the entire time.”