End of season review

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End of season review

Post by Harry Redknapp on Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:13 am

What a great performance this season represents!

If, at the start of the year, you had told me that this team would make it to the QF and lose in a squeaker I would have said that would be over-achieving given the loss of 3 players to the U20 team. Add in season-ending injuries to Rachael and Kendra and the accomplishment is more remarkable.

I watched the game on video feed last night and it was a plucky display from the Pilots. If the three amigas had played it would have been a different outcome: no doubt in my mind, but full credit to the girls who played their hearts out. I'm excited for next year, but have some frustration that Megan R did not get to play with the amigas this year: they would have been soooooo good.

This season -

Kelsey Davis: very few chances to show what she is capable of because UP dominated so many games, but she played very well last night. Kelsey is a good keeper. Love her talking.

Jessica Tsao: had a good freshman season last year but took her game to a whole new level this year; most consistent defender this season, added a great offensive dimension, fab goal last weekend = defensive player of the season for me.

Korie Nicholson: recovered from injury to play a solid season; never backed down from a physical challenge. I'm pleased she got lots of playing time in her final season. [Although a junior in eligibility, she was honored as a senior and I assume she's graduating and moving on.]

Kassi McCluskie: exuberant and physical, Kassi was the biggest surprise this season. She improved a lot from early games to earn a starting place, playing well enough to allow coaches to move Michelle O forward to midfield. She and Korie gave it everything every game.

Megan Sweeney: tough and feisty, MS fought for every tackle and has great heart. Taking over from Stephanie Lopez is impossible for anyone but Megan left it all on the field every game.

Michelle Olivier: great first season that lived up to expectations. Early on showed great poise at the back, won lots of tackles and, most importantly, made good use of the ball from the back - a great attribute. Then had to move to holding mid - a whole new position, where she played well too. Not flashy in any way but look back and see how many times she played a one-touch pass that moved the ball quickly to space and opened the game up for a team mate. Freshman of the year.

Sara Jackman: filled in at right midfield at a critical time in the season when the Pilots were trying to figure out how to play without the amigas. Sara held down the right flank with steady defense and simple passing game.

Charney Burk: good close skills and short passing game, Charney had good start to her freshman season but looked even better when she was moved to attacking mid position. Tough spot to play as a freshman but she held her own.

Megan Rapinoe: coming back from two major injuries, who knew how good she could be? The parts of her game fell into place over time: early on she ran well and tackled with fierce abandon, then her shot got calibrated and she started hitting it like a cannon; finally, she was moved out left - a brilliant decision - and she passed and crossed well too. By the end of the season she was magnificent - Stanford double- and triple-teamed her. Megan was playing brilliant soccer: she was very aggressive, a leader on this team by example, and you felt like she could do anything. Player of the season.

Danielle Foxhoven: the "fox in the box", she is a scorer who is completely at home around the goal. Later in the season she had developed a stronger game holding up the ball and connecting passes with teammates. Very good first season.

Sophie Schmidt: easy to forget that Sophie plays holding midfield for Canada - we've never seen her play there for UP - I wonder how good she is? Played a second season as forward and, after recovering from Olympics, stepped up big for Pilots. Great target, she holds the ball well and scored some very good goals. The other big "lead by example" player for the team in the second half of the season. Offensive player of the year.

Hailee De Young: mission accomplished! Looked sharp in warm ups but - happily for her extra season of eligibility - never had to play all season. Adds another credit to Kelsey that she played every minute of every game.

Emma Nelson: not much PT but did a good job filling in at outside defense.

Kristen Kelly: hurt for much of the year but useful contributions (out of position) at right mid at end of season

Janelle Jacka: another contributor from the bench, Janelle hits a good cross and played well in several of the WCC games.

Hallie Kreminski: brought energy off the bench and spelled Dani and Sophie up front in the second half of the season.

Rachael Rapinoe: so sad not to see more of her this year; wish her well in years to come.

Kendra Chandhoke: overlooked in the amigas comments in the last few weeks but Kendra would have made a big difference in the playoffs. She has pace and started to look good at outside mid before she got hurt.

Elli Reed: she's fast! and national team experience has added defensive dimension to her game. I like her at outside defense. Look forward to next two years.

Keelin Winters: so solid at holding midfield. Wins the ball in the air, does the simple stuff. Like Michelle O - she makes it look easy and opens up the game for the rest of the team.

Michelle Enyeart: also fast! when she gets the ball in space, anywhere on the field, it could be a goal coming. She and Megan R and Elli can run at people with the ball at their feet. That ability to take people on one-on-one is a game changer.

I didn't want to go to the what could have been thread again but just for a moment think of the three of them who can run at you with the ball, combined with the movement and control of Keelin and Charney and Sophie and the predatory instincts of Danielle. Oh my!

Garrett and his team did a magnificent job of coaching this year. Balancing the time and use of the amigas, figuring out how to play without them, moving Megan R out wide, and finessing the game plan with only four subs at the end of the year was brilliant. Look how many girls were playing in different positions last night from where you might have expected at the start of the year.

It's ben a lot of fun. Can't wait for next year to start.

And hope for anyone but North Carolina to win the Championship!

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Re: End of season review

Post by SIDud on Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:27 am

For me, a Johnny come lately to woman's soccer, what I take away from this season and team is true TEAM competition. It is such a treat for me to see a "game" played the right way. This team and the former teams played as a unit, egos checked at the locker room. If any young person wants to emulate anyone, they should take a long look at the women's soccer team. I know that I praise this team to my 9 year old granddaughter and hope that she at least listens but more impotantly watchs how a game should be played.

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:49 am

Harry - Tremendous review of the season and of the individual players.

Maybe in another day or three you can give us an early preview of 2009, with the returning players as well as the new freshman recruits. (Only if you really want to. You've already done a lot of work with this post!)

Your analysis of games is always something I look forward to, with your obvious knowledge of the game.

Thanks again from all of Pilot Nation for your 2008 season review! Very Happy

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Re: End of season review

Post by up7587 on Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:48 am

Thanks for the year end review.

Does the season end with pizza and trophies? lol!

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2009 preview

Post by Harry Redknapp on Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:15 pm

FANatic

I will post on this topic next week; I'm going to try to get more info about schedule first.

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Re: End of season review

Post by mattywizz on Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:50 pm

This young team learned a lot this season. Next year they will certainly miss Rapinoe, and to a lesser extent Nicholson, but for all intents and purposes they will be getting 3 new, experienced players plus their freshman class. If just a couple of the freshman are ready to step in and play next year they will be very deep, and if they have a class like this year's they will have scary depth.

As much as losing the three amigas hurt the team (I never saw any of them play), it may have helped them in the long run. They may have won this year with them, but b/c of the experienced gained by the three players (or more) who took their playing time could help them win the next two titles. I don't know that I will get to see them play much next year, but I am pretty excited to follow them and read what you folks have to write about them.

Go Pilots!

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Re: End of season review

Post by A_Fan on Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:56 pm

This season the Pilots gave us what we have come to expect from this program. The team played wonderful, entertaining, competitive, fun soccer. They overcame obstacles and on the field they gave it their all to produce results of which they can be very proud. No one could ask for more from a team.

Besides achieving what they did for themselves and their teammates they gave us in this forum a chance to participate as well. We dreamed, speculated, agreed and disagreed, joked and had a lot of fun, plus learned a lot about the team, the program, the opponents and each other. It's been great and I'm looking forward to next season with great anticipation.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Auto Pilot on Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:13 pm

Next year we will be back to having two keepers available. The worst kept secret of the year (Hailee's red-shirt) is now moot. Kelsey was carrying around a few injuries during the year and most likely would have appreciated a break but she had a career year. Expect to see great things again next year in goal.

Megan Rapinoe. I was asking myself who, will be the energetic leader for next year. While Megan is one of those players you never replace. I am thinking Kassi and Megan are kindred spirits in the enthusiasum and energy department. With a year under her belt I expect her to be an unmistakeable leader next year. Ellie should also be leader by example and so much the better for gaining international experience. We will gain an opportunity for having Jess or Ellie attacking out of the back.

With the departure of Megan and the return of Keelin and Michelle E. I can see Sophie playing midfielder again perhaps at the holding mid she is so familiar with team Canada. Michelle O could take over either of the outside mid spots. Last night she was one of the few players who had things handled against Stanford. You might have noticed they quit trying the middle after the first half and really went to work on the wings.

So the freshmen. Unlike this year the freshmen will have a chance to be, well freshmen. However, expect one or more to step up and challenge to start anywhere on the field.

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Re: End of season review

Post by SoreKnees on Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:13 am

What about Keelin as a leader? She has served as captain of the U-20s and her blogging from Chile suggests that she can put words together when she needs to.

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:17 am

MWhiz - good Point. The absence of out three U20's gave valuable experience to players who might otherwise not have played much. All the better for next year.

I suppose it's good to have "a leader", but I think we might have a team full of leaders next year, which I believe is even better.

I'm sure coach Garrett is reading all this in order to pick his lineup for next year, so here is my 2 cents worth of opinion (about what it's worth). I like Michelle O in the middle, probably at center back. Her experience this year getting more involved down the field can only help. Since I like speed on the outside, I like Ellie back on the left and Michelle E. outside mid on the left - that pair, working together, would be a tremendous handful. Picture teams trying to contain Michelle and then having to deal with Ellie overlapping her. Keelin's natural instincts seem to me to be as a holding mid, rather than attacking mid, but you could put her at attacking mid with Sophie or Michelle O at holding mid. I suspect that Charney will stay at attacking mid and will be hugely improved. I think that Kassie and Michelle O are a good pair at center D - one super aggressive, the other steady. I love Jessica getting into the offense from right back, maybe working with Kendra ahead of her.

The best part is - we have Garrett to make the best choices, which he will do.

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:13 am

Don't forget, among the many talented new freshmen coming in, we have a true monster in Cloee Colohan! She is a center back that can play midfield.

I don't believe Cloee will do anything next year except start, and probably play 90 minutes a game.

(Cloee is the sole center back on the U17 YNT. They use a backline of three defenders, two outside backs and only Cloee in the middle. She always plays 90 minutes a game.) affraid

Note: I realize she will have to come to camp next August and fight for a spot like everyone else. But we seem to be already set in the central back triangle, (2 center backs and a holding mid), so trying to imagine who will play where and who will sit if Cloee is too good to sit, seems like a happy dilemma for Garrett.

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:43 am

I agree it's a happy dilemma, for sure. I know nothing about Cloee, except that she is extremely highly rated. If, as you say, Fanatic, she is too good to sit, it creates all sorts of interesting possibilities. Who does sit then, at least as a starter? As has been said in other threads, there will be some good players starting games on the bench next year.

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Re: End of season review

Post by SoreKnees on Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:50 am

What do you all think about Kassie moving to the outside? I think she's probably fast enough and she seemed to do well on corners when she got into the offensive end. That would give us Kassie and Jessica outside, Cloee and Michelle O in the middle. Megan S. and Kristen K. give us lots of depth in the back, although defenders are the most likely to play 90 minutes.

Keelin at holding mid.

I'd keep Elli in the midfield because I think we want more depth there so that we always have fresh legs. Elli, Kendra, Charney, Michelle E., and perhaps Kendall Johnson or another of the newcomers can split time at the three midfield spots. Dani and Sophie to start up front, though Michelle and Kendra (and perhaps some newcomers) can also take some minutes up there.

Unquestionably, we'll have some very happy dilemmas!

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:31 pm

I think Kassie would do well outside, maybe even better than in the middle. Good point about keeping the mids fresh. Also - I do like Michelle E. up front. Danielle and Sophie are both target-type players, decent speed but not really fast. It would help to have Michelle's breakaway speed up there. She can take people on 1 on 1 and make things happen. I would expect you'll see Michelle at both spots next year, as you did a little this year.

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OK - next season (since that's where everyone has gone)

Post by Harry Redknapp on Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:31 pm

This thread has moved off topic - a look back at this season - to a new one, looking forward to next season.

Any speculation about next year has to be qualified by at least two factors that we know nothing about: how well players do in practice at the start of the year; and how good the incoming freshmen are. As to the latter, we only have one player coming in with national team experience - Cloee Colohan. In years past, players with that type of experience have started and done well. And then some players without that level of prior experience have come in and done well too - Keelin two years ago and Kassi this year. Who knows what Kendall Johnson, Molly Klier, Taylor Brooke, and Elinor Priest will do? The good news is that, unless there is a spate of injuries, there is likely to be far less pressure on them than there was on this year's class. Anything from any of them their first year is a bonus.

GK: Great position to be in. Kelsey is very good, and Hailee is good too. Next season I assume Kelsey starts and Hailee gets serious time, especially on weekends with two games.

Defense: In the middle my guess is that Michelle O and Cloee start. Michelle is the best center d with the ball that we've seen for a while; and I'm speculating that Cloee is stronger player than Kassi - time will tell. Kassi is great cover and energy off the bench if she doesn't start. Outside defense raises lots of questions: first, where does Elli play? I'm going to back into this position later after speculating on the other positions.

Holding mid: Keelin. It ain't broke, don't fix it.
Attacking mid: Charney. Perfect spot for her skills set. Good close control, eye for incisive short passes, willing to take a shot from outside. With the talent upfront and outside, this position cries out for someone to do the simple stuff well and add a touch of flair - perfect role for Charney.

Wide mid: You want pace here. Michelle E, Kendra, Elli, Sara/Kristen/Janelle and several of the freshmen? I'd go with Michelle here: I know her pace upfront is special but there are huge opportunities to run at people from this spot. Kendall Johnson has a good left foot and might fill that side; I like Kendra out wide too.

Forward: Sophie and Danielle. I love Sophie as a target. If she's not holding mid or center d - and both are covered well - then I like her best upfront. Holding up the ball and laying it off to Michelle, and Charney, and Elli, and Keelin, and Dani and so on. Danielle has a nose for the goal and developed a ground game outside the box as the year went on.

So that enables Elli to play left d and Jessica right d. Love the offensive threat that these two pose; both are solid defenders, have pace to get up and down the field. Cover from Emma and Megan S, and maybe others.

Kelsey: Jessica, Michelle O, Cloee, Elli: Kendra, Keelin, Charney, Michelle E: Sophie, Danielle.

This looks like one heck of a team. Pace and skill at the back. Pace and talent out wide, with Jessica, Elli, Kendra and Michelle. Look at how many of these players can run at a defender with ball at feet and take them on. How do you double-team Michelle, for example, if Elli is with her? Defenders are going to be very tired by the end of the game. Strength up the middle: how about a spine of Michelle and Cloee, Keelin and Charney, and Sophie and Danielle? And only three seniors (Kelsey, Kendra, Michelle E).

Massive flexibility. Both Elli and Jessica can move up to outside mid. Michelle can play forward. Keelin can play attacking mid; Michelle O can play holding mid.

And that's just the starting XI. Off the bench there is cover for every position: Hailee, Megan S, Kassi, Kristen, Janelle, Emma, Hallie, and the other four freshmen. A total of 22 players - which is lot more than the 15 we ended the season with!

This season anything they accomplished in the playoffs was a bonus. Next season with that line up, if they stay healthy anything less than a third championship feels like a missed opportunity.

I'm looking forward to the fall!

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:22 pm

Again, very well put Harry. It seems the possibilities with this group are endless. Talent, size, technical prowess and pace should be had in abundance. We can sub in fresh legs and not have a huge drop off at almost every position.

We do have the whole off-season to ponder it, take it apart and put it back together and so on and so forth. We also will find more stories and info about the incoming class. One thing I seem to recall as we were discussing these recruits when we first heard about them, was a general feeling that we were recruiting size, speed, flexibility and good people that fit in well with the current team.

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Re: End of season review

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:37 pm

Mark it down: Harry, one of the best soccer minds we have around here, has said what we've been dancing around: the "C" word next season.

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:53 am

Harry, you hit my lineup exactly, except I had Kassie instead of Cloee (whom I haven't seen play).

I guess that settles it.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Harry Redknapp on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:20 am

I haven't seen Cloee play either, but I made the assumption I described in my post, i.e. the national team players that have come to Merlo in the past several years haver shown themselves good enough to start as freshmen.

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:18 am

There are no guarantees that Cloee will start. But every time I have read a review of one of her YNT's games, she not only starts and plays the whole game, but seems to regularly be singled out by one coach or another for her stellar play.

Kassi and Michelle at center back and Keelin at defensive mid is a formidable center back end. But when you recruit a player of Cloee's caliber, I can't envision her coming to Portland to sit on the bench.

I think Garrett is building quality depth for when some of these players leave for national team duty again. In the meantime, who sits? We'll probably speculate on this for months, but I kinda like the idea of Cloee and Michelle in the middle, and Kassi and Jessica on the outside.
But then what about Elli at outside back, behind Michelle E.? (Twin jets overlapping each other.)

I swear, the possibilities are endless if we are whole. But when injuries happen, and national call-ups happen, we will be much more prepared than in the past.

I kind of liken 2009 to 2005. I don't believe the national teams will be a problem next fall, (fingers crossed), and if we stay healthy, we will have a championship caliber team from back to front. No question.

And I guarantee if you listen to Garrett before next season, he'll say anything less than a 3rd championship will be a disappointment. Cool

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Re: End of season review

Post by harryb on Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:41 am

Another interesting option would be to play Keelin on the wing, Sophie at defensive mid, and Michelle E. up front. It would give Keelin a chance to get in the offense more.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:51 am

I think if Keelin plays anywhere but holding mid, she'll do time as attacking mid. She played attacking mid/striker as a high schooler.


Last edited by Purplegeezer on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:22 pm

We old guys agree - I can't imagine Keelin anywhere except in the middle. She has that toughness you need there - It's almost impossible to dispossess her. Also, she seems to be good in the air, which we seemed to be lacking this year, especially on goal kicks, maybe partly because of Charney's lack of height?

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Re: End of season review

Post by harryb on Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:25 pm

Kind of interesting to have the two best defensive midfielders in the country, and another one who actually played it during the playoffs (and did a darn good job).

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Re: End of season review

Post by SoreKnees on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:06 pm

Yup. If we didn't have two of the best young central defenders in the country as well it might be tempting to go to three defenders and put both into the midfield.

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