Tuesday, September 14, 2010

road trip

Before we got on the bus on Thursday, I talked to the team about how we must go 2-0 on a road trip in order to finish atop the Atlantic Sun Conference. The objective of this trip was to go 2-0 on a non-conference weekend, so we knew we could do it when conference started. Well, that speech didn't work out too well.

One penalty kick and one overtime later, we were 0-2 for the weekend.

I have never coached a game where there is a game deciding goal in the last minute of the game. I think I have seen goals scored or given up with 1:something on the clock but never 0:something. At Eastern Illinois, the referee called a penalty kick against one of our defenders in the last 12 seconds. We lost 1-0 on that goal with 0:12 on the clock.

It was by far the worst field I have seen in the 2000's. A ball could be rolling along the ground, and bounce over the player's foot when she tried to trap or kick it. After about 30 minutes, we had to vacate any passing in our game plan and just play direct and try to kick every ball over their defenders. Although this kept the ball out of our defensive half, it did not result in shots or scoring chances. We only took 1 shot in the second half.
I've been thinking about the quality of that field, and it has made me pretty upset. All the teams that show up there to compete and work hard deserve far better than that. Any coaches who spend time preparing their teams to play against Eastern Illinois deserve better than that. The coaches and student-athletes at EIU deserve better than that. There is no way you could practice on that field and get better. I'm not mad because I lost on that field. I'm just mad about that field, and the message that it sends to those who use it.
In addition to the bad field and officiating, the team gave one of our least inspired performances in a long time. The last second penalty kick was shocking. After the game, I said nothing to the team. We just got on the bus, went back to the hotel, got ready for dinner, and went to eat.

After dinner, we had a team meeting. The meeting lasted over an hour. When you lose games the way we have lost games this year, it leaves a scar. We are working through some scar tissue right now.

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