Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Usual Week

We were supposed to play on Wednesday and Friday this week, which was a good schedule leading up to next week's games on Thursday and Saturday. Due to rain, we had to cancel Wednesday's game against Evansville. With standing water on the field and a 70% chance of rain, it looked like we might not be able to play on Friday either.

Before coming to Belmont, I had coached collegiate soccer for 11 years. In 11 years, I had 1 game cancelled due to rain (at Centenary, 1998) and 1 lightning delay (at Stetson, 2002). In the last 2 weeks I have had a game cancelled due to rain and a lightning delay. That makes 2 games cancelled and 1 game suspended due to field conditions in less than 5 years at Belmont. That is not a very good statistic, and one that can easily be avoided.

On Friday, I found myself in another unfamiliar situation when we were leading Alabama A&M 9-0 at halftime. In 1995, we scored 8 or 9 goals against Jacksonville and Birmingham Southern. In 1996, we scored 11 goals against UAH. It took the entire 90 minutes to score that many goals. We scored 5 or 6 in the 1st half and 4 or 5 in the 2nd half. In the 2nd half, the subs got a chance to get good playing time and good goals. I would only allow our team to score on crosses or score with their head.

On Friday, at halftime, I had to tell our team that they could not score at all. That was a first for me. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, we got a direct kick outside the penalty area. I told our team if they played it like it was an indirect kick, they could shoot. They executed it properly and scored on the only shot we took in the 2nd half. Although some players were disappointed, it was still a good opportunity to work on beating defenders on the end line, changing the point of attack in the attacking third, set plays, establishing a rhythm, final passes, etc.

It is also unusual for us to train on Sundays, but that is what we will do. We plan to put together 3 good training sessions in a row (weather permitting) before we leave on Wednesday to take on High Point on Thursday and Campbell, our first conference game on Saturday.

I hope the players who scored multiple goals and got multiple assists on Friday night have built up their confidence in and around the goal. They were JayTro, Annie, and Bublis. Also, LP scored 3 goals in 12 minutes. I wonder if that is an NCAA record?! I hope those players who did not get a chance to score because I wouldn't let them are mad and motivated to score the next time they get an opportunity. A goal or an assist against Campbell would be nice!

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