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Post by fan from afar on Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:02 am

Well, I'm back home after a great 10 days in the NW, and 4 Pilot games. Rather than tackle the mountain of work on my desk, I am going to give a few overall impressions I brought back after seeing the team in person.

1- It was great meeting a few of you, ESPECIALLY the couple (whose name I have already forgotten) who showed me where to buy a good lunch between games Friday at Merlo - some things are truly more important then others.

2- I know I am preaching to the choir, and I know you all do appreciate them, but I hope you all REALLY appreciate the opportunity to watch Keelin and Sophie play together, and I mean REALLY appreciate. A real good case could have been made for Christine Nairn being the top center mid in the college ranks (some of you may have other names I am not aware of). I watched their game against UW Friday, and she was the best player on the field that game. They also had a number 18 who was an excellent holding mid - reminded me of Keelin. Well, on Sunday Nairn was not the best player on the field against UP, and 18 did not look at all like Keelin when she had to play AGAINST Keelin (and Sophie). Based on the UP-PSU game, I think a real strong argument can be made that Sophie and Keelin are the best two center mids in the college game, and I don't mean just the best pair - I mean the best two, numbers one and two (pick your order). You are probably watching a once-in-a-lifetime treat - enjoy it.

Incidently - I met Nairn's parents at the games - classy knowlegeable people.

3- One of the things I have been harping on (ad nauseum?) is the need for speed up front. If you watched the PSU-UP game, you saw what I mean. PSU, completely outplayed, had two goals, both as a direct result of having speed up front that could also finish. My concern this season has not been just the lack of goals, but the lack of goals scored off the run of play - in other words, goals scored after 4, 6, 10 (whatever) passes that lead us to a dangerous situation AND A GOAL. We had practically none of that type of goal in the early season - maybe none at all - which I believe was due to the lack of speed up front. Now, I believe that all 3 forwards bring something different to the table, and that we need all three playing in various combinations. For example, in the PSU game, you saw the ball movement in the offensive third improve immediately when Danielle and Hallie entered the game together, but I also saw a constant in all 4 games - getting Hallie and Danielle the ball at the end of passing sequences in what should be dangerous 1-1 or 1-2 situations but nothing happening as a result. On the other hand, Michaela doesn't yet have the experience to get herself into those dangerous situations on the end of passing sequences like Hallie and Danielle can. On the third hand, Michaela is the only attacker who can take on defenders in a 1-1 or 1-2 situation and score. So, I think we need all three to beat Stanford/UNC. How can we beat Stanford and UNC? I believe we MUST be able to score at least one and maybe two goals off the run of play. In my formula, another goal comes through an individual effort and another maybe through restarts/corners - 3 goals. Think back to the PSU game - our second goal was off the run of play. The third goal was Michaela's individual effort. The last goal was off a restart/corner kick. Three goals will almost certainly win any game with our defense.

4- Freshmen - I thought Michelle (Cruz) was the most mature, by which I mean the most ready to play Pilot-style ball. I'd like to see her 1-1 defense get better (it will) and her finishing. I saw her miss two fairly easy shots she should have put in, one over the goal and one off the crossbar. Michaela is the most important to the team right now because of the speed and finishing she brings to the table. Erin is going to be great once she gets steadier, which she does need to do. Ellen looked great against Wisconsin, not so great against Syracuse, steadily better the next two games. I would guess she is the attacking mid of the future. Sarah looked lost to me early on but better the last game or two. I didn't see enough of the others to say anything.

5- Finally - There's nothing quite like a game at Merlo on a cool Friday evening or on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Enjoy -
fan from afar
fan from afar
First man off the Bench
First man off the Bench

Number of posts : 593
Age : 77
Location : upstate new york
Registration date : 2008-11-09

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