The 2010 Our Lady of Grace 3rd & 4th Grade Girls' soccer team! (minus Helena who couldn't be here)

So another season comes to an end. 

Another Undefeated Season I might add...

Coach Scott & I yesterday remembered back to a string of interesting e-mails from some over-bearing dads who notified us that anything less than an undefeated season for their girls' school soccer team was unacceptable.

You asked (truth-be-told demanded) - we delivered!

Now, really Coach Scott & I had very little to do with the outcome.  These girls probably could have done this without us, but someone has to go out there & yell at them for 3 hours a week at practice and then figure out where to put them on the field.  With the talent we had the toughest part of our job was to align the players in formations that might keep the score down in games.

It was fun, but going to the field knowing that we were a lock to win week-in and week-out took a bit of the drama off the season.  Coaches of other teams were amazed at our girls - we ran into 3 who came into the game undefeated and expected a walk-over.  Instead they witnessed a demonstration of speed, skills, and teamwork seldom seen in Parochial league soccer.

Our only true test was in the final game of the season when 2 of our most experienced players decided that a weekend skiing was more important than school soccer.  Unbelievable!  What could be more important than soccer?!?!?!?!

So our remaining girls took the field (while their go-to comrades were 'wushing & shussing' somewhere) on the final day of the season against a very powerful (and very large) team.  Our undersized squad used superior skills and exceptional toughness in wearing down their bigger (did they really need doughnuts as a halftime snack?) opponents to a level where they had no answer but to push, grab, bang, and knock down our fine young ladies.  Finally, after a few subtle reminders from the coaching staff as to the questionable play of the opposing team, the refereecalled a penalty and we were able to preserve a win with a free kick by Helena after a brutal knock-down in the box. 

1-0, and an undefeated season.

While the rest of the contests were never in doubt, this final game showed the true colors of our team.  Indeed it was Helena who scored, yet each & every player contributed to the outcome.  Ashley & Catherine fought the opponents at midfield, Halle and Hailey controlled the defensive end and did a wonderful job of pushing the ball upfield, the speedy Gianna made a stop from across the field on a breakaway by the opposing side and played through a brutal kick over the shinguard, and Megan and Ava were stellar in getting to the ball and pressing forward.  With injury & other commitments we were only able to field 8 players, but 8 was enough in this one.  It was hard fought soccer in a David vs. Goliath game!

Many thanks to all the players who contributed this season - not just those mentioned above.  Olivia, Katelyn, Kelsey, Ashlin, and Erin, while not able to attend the final game, were all an integral part of the season.  I must add, our competitive players were true ambassadors of the game through this campaign.  Many of the practices were remedial to the skills they've learned & what they're doing, yet they were gracious and helpful at all times. 

 Next year the 4th grade girls will move up to the Junior Varsity level and the 3rd graders will be back for another of these Pee-Wee campaigns.

Many thanks to the parents involved too (even those who put forth such lofty pre-season demands) - your support of your kids means the world to them.  We appreciate, as always, the honor of you entrusting your girls to us.

And finally, I wish to thank Coach Scott for allowing me to work alongside him over these years, both in our school and recreational campaigns.  We've fielded some great teams, enjoyed tremendous successes, and had a few heartbreaks.  I look forward to working together for years to come, and I'm already feeling the foreboding sting of the time when our girls will no longer care to take the field and allow us the joy of making this sort of difference in their lives.

As I always do in these posts - I'll remind all parents that these times are flying by us.  Enjoy them!

Off to the baseball diamond for me.  We hope to be back at this next year - see y'all then.