By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Fairview High School girls soccer team has plans for a Patriot Athletic Conference championship this season, and Saturday’s 7-0 victory over Lutheran West was one more step toward achieving that goal.
“We’ve out-played everyone that we’ve played this season,” Fairview head coach Scott Underwood said. “Our biggest (problem) is the scoring opportunities that we’ve let go by the wayside this year.”
Even with Stephanie Miller and Cayleigh Gibbons each scoring two goals, and Megan Coyne, Katie Kovach and Claire Rehor each chipping in with a goal, there were many more opportunities that could have made the score of this game very ugly.
“In the first half, we had a couple (of scoring opportunities) from seven yards out, open goal with nobody there, (and the ball goes) over the top,” Underwood said. “So, these are the types of things that keeps us from winning games like (against) Buckeye, who we dominated, but couldn’t score. So, they beat us 1-0. They got their one opportunity and finished.
“Orange had two shots on goal against us and scored on both,” he continued. “We had 18 (shots) on them, but we lost 2-0. We’re never going to score 10-12 goals on a team, but certainly we need to establish that we can, and then get into the things we want to do. We’re playing good soccer, but we haven’t had a player to step up and be our go-to goal scorer.”
Lutheran West (1-6-1, 1-3-1 in the PAC) did one thing in Saturday’s game to frustrate Fairview, it ran an offside-trap play, defensively, and keep the speedy Warrior forwards at bay.
“We always try to play an aggressive offside trap,” Lutheran West head coach Jeff Bancroft said. “We still have some young players back there (on defense) that don’t pick up on it right away, unless we are calling it from the bench.”
The frustration was clearly shown in the first half by Coyne, who was given a yellow card for cursing during game play.
“You could see the frustration building as we went through the first half,” Underwood said. “The offside trap was frustrating people, and the inability to adjust to it was frustrating us even more. Megan missed a shot, and was already frustrated, and she said something to the referee, which she shouldn’t have said – the referee gave her a warning – and she said something back, and he gave her a card for dissent. It’s a good lessen for her to learn, as she’s going to be my returning senior captain next year.”
Lutheran West has fielded a team that has little game-play experience.
“We have a lot of inexperienced and first-year players,” Bancroft said. “We have some juniors that are from the softball team and other multi-sport athletes that are just now learning the game. We’ve got to get them going.”
With so much inexperience on the team, the Longhorns are using this season to work on some of the fundamentals of the game.
“Right now, possession is our biggest problem,” Bancroft said. “With inexperienced players, first-touch is everything. If you’re controlling the ball, and not letting the ball control you, you’re going to be successful.
“(Fairview), basically, possessed the ball better than we did, and that’s the difference (in the game),” he added. “Right now, we have players that are just chasing the ball and not possessing it.”
Underwood sees games like the one played on Saturday as an opportunity to start to get his team ready for the stretch run.
“This year, we had good summer training, but in the beginning of the season we struggled a little bit,” he said. “We’re still struggling with goal scoring, which is good, because these are things we can build upon and start going in the right direction toward October.”