Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

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Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by purple haze on Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:21 am

Geoffrey Arnold of The Oregonian checks in with the coach about the season just ended and what's to come. A nice photo of Taylor Brooke illustrates the story. Notable quote: "This year wasn't a failure by any means," Smith said. " We just had one lousy result."

http://www.oregonlive.com/pilots/index.ssf/2010/11/pilots_look_forward_not_backwa.html

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:16 pm

I absolutely agree with Smith. I think that in the second round UW and OSU were two of the more dangerous teams since both play in a high RPI conference against tough competition. Eventually, teams learn and grow from those losses...

We'll turn the corner quickly though. Smith has turned UP into a recruiting machine...

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by up7587 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:01 pm

onetouchfutbol wrote:We'll turn the corner quickly though. Smith has turned UP into a recruiting machine...
Not unless they can score. scratch

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by color me purple on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:54 pm

I agree that developing the players that you have is very important but keeping the pipeline of players comming into the program is just as important. I know many of you may not want to hear this but I believe that Lauren had a lot to do with the recruiting that we saw in past years and we are lacking in that dept. IMO, this needs to be recognized and dealt with so the pipeline of new talent is not limited to you own backyard.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:37 pm

up7587 wrote:
onetouchfutbol wrote:We'll turn the corner quickly though. Smith has turned UP into a recruiting machine...
Not unless they can score. scratch

I'm a glass half full guy, and I think we have enough scorers and a proven system. We were upset by a hungrier team and next year the tables will be turned. We had UW's number, and they were probably really sick of losing to us...just as we we are sick of losing to UCLA in recent years and were once sick of losing to ND. I think our women will come out hungrier next season.

But, I think that adversity is healthy and necessary in order to have success...

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by wrv on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:39 pm

While some may debate the point raised, I think a credible argument can be made that recruiting has not been as successful as when Lauren was here. That decline may be partly responsible for the offensive woes so often cited here.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:51 pm

color me purple wrote:I agree that developing the players that you have is very important but keeping the pipeline of players comming into the program is just as important. I know many of you may not want to hear this but I believe that Lauren had a lot to do with the recruiting that we saw in past years and we are lacking in that dept. IMO, this needs to be recognized and dealt with so the pipeline of new talent is not limited to you own backyard.

I respectfully disagree that we're not going beyond our own backyard in recruiting...or that the backyard isn't a huge part of the program. First of all, FC Portland has been one of the foundations of Portland since before the days of Lauren as a recruiter when she was still a player. Second of all, if you look at the roster there are more out of state players than in state players:

http://www.portlandpilots.com/roster.aspx?path=wsoc

Sports teams go through cycles, and teams can't make the Final 4 or win championships every year. I think that Portland fans get spoiled, and they forget the struggle and adversity that we had to get through to finally beat Notre Dame first of all and then to win a championship. For me personally, beating Notre Dame was almost as big of a thrill as winning the championship.

Trivia questions:

How many years did our program exist before we made it to the playoffs? To the Final 4?

How many times did we lose in the Final 4 before winning the first championship?

How many All Americans have been on our teams since those two championships?

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by VillaGorilla on Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:24 pm

wrv wrote:While some may debate the point raised, I think a credible argument can be made that recruiting has not been as successful as when Lauren was here. That decline may be partly responsible for the offensive woes so often cited here.

Just going off of my own fallible memory, our six-member freshman class this year had five players on the ESPNU Top 100. Our overall class was rated in the top ten. I would in no way classify that as a decline.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by gnarly on Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:31 pm

The article incorrectly classified the result as loss. The result may be the same, but I was surprised how dominate we were compared to prior UW games. I had already predicted in my Host sites threads that UW would be a dangerous opponent. I saw the game in person and looking at the box score we controlled the game, particularly in the second half and OT periods. Given the closeness of the games with UW the last several times luck is not going to go your way every time. Anything can happen once you get to PK's and that is just soccer. We have nothing to hang our heads about.

I think it would be a good idea not to play our NW teams so often, like in both the spring and fall. We only met UW and UO in regular season this year and did not meet OSU or WSU. Every other year is often enough as we get to know each others games all to well. It was nice to have some new teams from the area like Trinity last spring.

Finally, at least we did not get beat 4-1 at home against ND. UW is a decent team who had a little luck go their way for a change and we get to sit home this time. I'm expecting record goals next year with HK and DF being seniors and our freshmen crop a year older and wiser and any new Frosh adding to the mix.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:20 am

onetouchfutbol wrote:
up7587 wrote:
onetouchfutbol wrote:We'll turn the corner quickly though. Smith has turned UP into a recruiting machine...
Not unless they can score. scratch

I'm a glass half full guy, and I think we have enough scorers and a proven system. We were upset by a hungrier team and next year the tables will be turned. We had UW's number, and they were probably really sick of losing to us...just as we we are sick of losing to UCLA in recent years and were once sick of losing to ND. I think our women will come out hungrier next season.

But, I think that adversity is healthy and necessary in order to have success...

One touch - I completely agree about the Washington game - Washington was hungry and there was a lot of bad luck involved, in a game we dominated. However, you continue to dwell on the Washington game and ignore the rest of the season as far as the Pilots dominating games and still not being able to score. Some of us saw the possibility of a game like the Washington game coming from a long ways away, due to the difficulty of getting the ball into the net all season, and were saying so on this forum for most of the year. You simply cannot deny that we had trouble scoring, in almost every game this year - we had a problem. We dominated almost every game we played, but we had nine 1-goal games, one of which we tied and two of which we lost. We had seven 2-goal games. There were only 6 games where we scored more than two goals, and three of them were against pretty weak teams (UTSA, Syracuse, Gonzaga). IMHO, PSU was the ONLY game in which we really needed goals and managed to score them. You can discuss and disagree about why (there are probably lots of reasons), but you can't just ignore the problem. It actually would have been easier to live with if we hadn't dominated all those games, but we had such a fantastic team, and we dominated almost every game, and we couldn't score. That really is simply a fact. The Washington game was just waiting to happen to us.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:33 am

I should also add that I am not being critical of ANYONE connected in any way with the program - not the players, coaches, fans, drum band, ticket takers etc etc. I love everything about Pilot soccer. It's a first class operation all the way. I also love this forum. This was an extremely successful year by almost any measure, but very frustrating none the less - to be such a dominating team and not be able to score a little more.

AND, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Can't wait for next fall!!

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by irish78 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:32 am

Hmmm. Not sure the loss of Lauren's recruiting is such an important factor. She has had two years at Oregon. They have 12 freshman and sophomores on their roster of 20. Their record in 2009 was 7-10-1 while in 2010 it was 7-10-3. At least the recruits that Oregon is able to attract don't seem to have made any difference.

I believe Garrett is a more important "recruiter" than any assistant coach. It really comes down to the head coach of a program rather than any assistant. While the asst might have a lot of initial contact, the decision to attend rests heavily on the rapore with the head coach and comfort with the school.

I might also add that the skill set that many of these girls possess as seniors in high school is very similar. With ODP programs and the state, regional and national tournaments, they play a lot of games, practice a lot, travel and are exposed to a wide variety of competition. It is a very thin line between who makes and who doesn't make some "national" team at 14-15 years old. And these early honors follow these select players until they finally decide which college to attend. Beyond that, it is the player development by the college program that makes the difference.

Each year many of Portland's recruits contribute right away. I would venture to say that the staff at Portland can spot talent and more importantly, skills that fit their style of play and then develop the recruit once enrolled. You don't need to look any further than Micaela to see what the right fit can do.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:53 am

fan from afar wrote:
onetouchfutbol wrote:
up7587 wrote:
onetouchfutbol wrote:We'll turn the corner quickly though. Smith has turned UP into a recruiting machine...
Not unless they can score. scratch

I'm a glass half full guy, and I think we have enough scorers and a proven system. We were upset by a hungrier team and next year the tables will be turned. We had UW's number, and they were probably really sick of losing to us...just as we we are sick of losing to UCLA in recent years and were once sick of losing to ND. I think our women will come out hungrier next season.

But, I think that adversity is healthy and necessary in order to have success...

One touch - I completely agree about the Washington game - Washington was hungry and there was a lot of bad luck involved, in a game we dominated. However, you continue to dwell on the Washington game and ignore the rest of the season as far as the Pilots dominating games and still not being able to score. Some of us saw the possibility of a game like the Washington game coming from a long ways away, due to the difficulty of getting the ball into the net all season, and were saying so on this forum for most of the year. You simply cannot deny that we had trouble scoring, in almost every game this year - we had a problem. We dominated almost every game we played, but we had nine 1-goal games, one of which we tied and two of which we lost. We had seven 2-goal games. There were only 6 games where we scored more than two goals, and three of them were against pretty weak teams (UTSA, Syracuse, Gonzaga). IMHO, PSU was the ONLY game in which we really needed goals and managed to score them. You can discuss and disagree about why (there are probably lots of reasons), but you can't just ignore the problem. It actually would have been easier to live with if we hadn't dominated all those games, but we had such a fantastic team, and we dominated almost every game, and we couldn't score. That really is simply a fact. The Washington game was just waiting to happen to us.

Sure, I agree it was a recurring pattern of the season, and at the same time, I don't think there's a lot of reason to believe that it will repeat itself next season. That's all. When was the last time that we failed to bounce back and had two poor seasons in a row? Historically, our program bounces back extremely well.

In addition, our coach is an extremely smart guy and had a huge hand in both of our national championships.
Foxhoven still has a chance to graduate as one of the better scorers in UP history, doesn't she? I wouldn't be surprised to see Garrett pull her aside and say, "Don't be afraid to be more selfish next year. We need that for our success." I agree that scoring was a problem, but, I disagree that we have much say in controlling what happens as bloggers. Plus, I think there were enough good signs on the season as a whole (like still dominating shots on goal when we didn't convert) to chalk it up as being somewhat unlucky. I think with having Foxhoven and Frisbee and others on the roster and having a proven coach, we are still in good hands.

Yes, converting is a challenge, but, I don't think we should put all of our focus on that either. For most seasons over the history of our program, a bigger challenge has been dominating the midfield against the toughest competition like the UCLAs and Stanfords and winning the shots on goal battle against the toughest competition. I expect us to a better form as far as scoring goes, and I think dominating the midfield against the best competition (like UNC and Stanford) will once again be the challenge for next season.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:07 pm

I really hope you're right. As to whether it will be a recurring pattern next year, it probably depends of why you think it happened this year. Let me say right off, I'm not sure why it happened. If you are right and it was mostly a matter of being unlucky, then next year we should be better as far as scoring. IMHO, I think you are at least partly right. However, I also definitely think that there was a structural problem with lack of EXPERIENCED speed up front. As I have said here several times, we lacked someone who could break down defenses by herself. Hopefully, Michaela or Amanda or someone will step up more into that role next year.

I couldn't agree more about Garrett being an extremely smart coach. I also agree with you about the necessity of controlling the midfield against the top teams. The thing is, will we have someone (an Enyeart or Rapinoe) who can score when we CAN'T dominate midfield, when the play at midfield is a standoff? Stanford does, as did UCLA, as did UNC last year, as did UP when they won the national championships. My whole point all along is that it is really tough if not impossible to win that championship without the player who breaks down defenses. If you disagree, look at this year's Pilots. We had All-American quality players all through the lineup, just a terrific lineup and a very strong bench. They were coached well and played hard and smart. What were we missing? The player who can take on a defender(s) one on one and either score or set up someone else. We had everything else in abundance.

Incidently - where did your comment about "controlling what happens as bloggers" come from? Hopefully, I have never said anything like that. I certainly don't expect that coaches and/or players strategies are being affected by my posts. I just like to opine and read other opinions.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:26 pm

No, you never said anything like that. I guess all I'm saying is that I'm not too worried. You are correct that we don't have that one player who can consistently break down defenses, however, this program has made the final four before with team play when we haven't necessarily had that player. Every program wants that player, and there are few of them out there. Most will go in the top 5 of the WPS draft, and many don't show that potential at the high school level. I wouldn't write off the idea that there might be a player with the potential to break down other defenses already on our roster, but, maybe a little bit raw still. I like the potential of the Frisbee/Foxhoven combination. We just have to get them better service and playing to their potential...

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:45 am

My theory is that probably no team can win the NCAA's without one very skilled "breakdown the defense" player. Several other posters have mentioned the growing equality in women's soccer, and that seems to be true, probably because there are more and more girls playing soccer and therefore more and more good players to go around. That probably also means that the last 4 to 8 teams alive in the tournament each year will be pretty equal overall as far as controlling the run of play, and that the difference will be that one skilled player who can take it upon herself to break the midfield stalemate with a great play to score or set up a goal. That was perfectly illustrated last year (I THINK) in the finals when UNC and Notre Dame (?) were going back and forth fairly evenly with no scoring, until UNC's great finisher just did the deed. My God, my memory is awful - I cannot remember her name, and that game may have been two years ago.

One Touch - I'm sure you saw more of Frisbee than I did, so I defer to you on that. I like the idea of Danielle paired with speed - Michaela or maybe Amanda - with Halley off the bench. I am really hoping Michaela will develop over the off season into the breakdown player we need.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:38 am

fan from afar wrote:My theory is that probably no team can win the NCAA's without one very skilled "breakdown the defense" player. Several other posters have mentioned the growing equality in women's soccer, and that seems to be true, probably because there are more and more girls playing soccer and therefore more and more good players to go around. That probably also means that the last 4 to 8 teams alive in the tournament each year will be pretty equal overall as far as controlling the run of play, and that the difference will be that one skilled player who can take it upon herself to break the midfield stalemate with a great play to score or set up a goal. That was perfectly illustrated last year (I THINK) in the finals when UNC and Notre Dame (?) were going back and forth fairly evenly with no scoring, until UNC's great finisher just did the deed. My God, my memory is awful - I cannot remember her name, and that game may have been two years ago.

One Touch - I'm sure you saw more of Frisbee than I did, so I defer to you on that. I like the idea of Danielle paired with speed - Michaela or maybe Amanda - with Halley off the bench. I am really hoping Michaela will develop over the off season into the breakdown player we need.

Ahhh...well, I think that although that player is important, I believe that teams can win it all without that player. However, the style of play has to be extremely technical and organized, and the teams still need to be able to convert. The players sometimes need to remember that the ball is the fastest thing on the field when the sport is played well. In the early '90s, we had that player in Milbrett, but, sometimes the service wasn't there and the talent around her wasn't the best. So, it just turned into one player vs the other teams' defense at times. I personally think that as a program we are in much better shape now in terms of recruiting, talent, and the overall program. It's more difficult now for individual players to rack up Milbrett, Sinclair, or MacMillan types of stats just because our overall talent level is so much better, however, that doesn't mean that there are no "break down" types of players on our roster. At times, we may not play to our potential though. I think that Garrett is really on the right track in trying to get many exceptional athletes to try to play unselfishly in a technical style, and I expect our scoring to go back up next year. As far as recruiting goes, I'd like to see him go after an amazing mid-fielder or two who can get those forwards playing to their potential. If there's no recruit out there, I think that maybe just moving one or two of our best players in the air (who can also create a little bit) to the position would do the team wonders...

Thanks for this conversation. I'm enjoying it...

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:35 am



Ahhh...well, I think that although that player is important, I believe that teams can win it all without that player. However, the style of play has to be extremely technical and organized, and the teams still need to be able to convert. The players sometimes need to remember that the ball is the fastest thing on the field when the sport is played well. In the early '90s, we had that player in Milbrett, but, sometimes the service wasn't there and the talent around her wasn't the best. So, it just turned into one player vs the other teams' defense at times. I personally think that as a program we are in much better shape now in terms of recruiting, talent, and the overall program. It's more difficult now for individual players to rack up Milbrett, Sinclair, or MacMillan types of stats just because our overall talent level is so much better, however, that doesn't mean that there are no "break down" types of players on our roster. At times, we may not play to our potential though. I think that Garrett is really on the right track in trying to get many exceptional athletes to try to play unselfishly in a technical style, and I expect our scoring to go back up next year. As far as recruiting goes, I'd like to see him go after an amazing mid-fielder or two who can get those forwards playing to their potential. If there's no recruit out there, I think that maybe just moving one or two of our best players in the air (who can also create a little bit) to the position would do the team wonders...

Thanks for this conversation. I'm enjoying it...[/quote]

Likewise re. enjoying - As I said somewhere above, I love the conversations on this website. So does FSU fan. Looks to me like Stanford all the way with UP out, though - sorry, FSU fan.

I guess we will disagree about the necessity of having that player who can break down a defense singlehandedly. I've seen too many games, though, to believe otherwise. Do you remember the year (maybe 3 years ago) when we started off the season at home against UCLA and USC? I was out there for those games. We completely dominated UCLA for the whole game but didn't score. They got Cheyney free, just one time, and we lost 1-0. Sound familiar? Think Washington. I just think it is VERY hard to score consistently without that breakdown player, even when you completely dominate possession.

You are absolutely right about the ball moving faster than any player. That is a great teaching point, one I tried to use on the few ball hogs I have had over the years (without much success - they responded much better to sitting on the bench for a while). The problem comes when you are in the offensive third trying to pass it into a threatening position when you are seriously numbers down, which you almost always are in that part of the field - ESPECIALLY when the other team is packing it in. The only way to get numbers up (or even) is for someone to BEAT a defender or two and then press the attack. One Pilot who comes to mind who DID occasionally do that was Jessica, from the back. I also saw some of that ability from Michaela.


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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by runner girl on Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:45 am

One of the most effective ways to beat the defense is quick give and go's in tight spaces. Short, quick, accurate passes leave the defenders flat-flooted facing the wrong direction.
It's a lot easier to put the ball through a tight space to a teammate than to try to put yourself and the ball through a tight space.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by irish78 on Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:56 am

What about set plays? Corners? Free kicks? What percentage of goals are scored from these plays? Seems like some teams work to get corners and then are very dangerous with them.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by DaTruRochin on Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:05 am

Corners are just a bi-product of aggressive play, and yeah if you have a stable of strong aerial players (cough, Cloee, cough) they can be a very very dangerous weapon.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by UPreveler on Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:22 am

There have been great points made and that’s what makes these conversations so enjoyable. This is a long post but previous posts has made me think long and hard and think back to last year’s team and why it had such a more potent offense. Yes, we had that break away player in Michelle but in addition to Michelle we played games with a much more skilled and creative offensive strategy. Soccer is such a great team sport and I remember going to the games last year and being excited how well our outside backs, midfielders and forwards executed their offensive attack and seemed to be always on the same high level and skilled execution page. I agree with Runner Girl’s point that one of most effective ways to beat the defense is quick give and gos in tight spaces. We did that with skill and flair last year and even when Michelle went down we still won the next game by 4 goals. I have watched our UP teams over many years and one of the defining things that makes UP special and a top team in the nation is its offensive flair in terms of its possession attack and precise one touch passing. Last year it was fun and exciting to watch the left side attacking tandem of Ellie, Kendall and Sophie and the right side attacking tandem of Jessica, Kendra and Sophie along with Michelle either scoring or making many creative passes to set up chances for each other or for Dani and Halley to score. There was a lot of give and go passing between Sophie, Michelle, Kendall, Kendra, Ellie and Jessica which opened up the field and increased our chances to score. Also, looked at last year stats to see if anything stands out. Stats of last year that make a point about the value of offensive creativity and potency are that last year’s right side attackers had Jessica with 9 assists and Kendra with 9 goals, 7 assists. Last years left side attackers had Ellie with 3 goals, 2 assists and Kendall 3 goals, 2 assists. Also, Sophie, Halley, Kendra, Dani, and Michelle all contributed great scoring numbers with 9 or more goals. Dani, Jessica, Sophie, Kendra and Michelle had 7 or more assists. It is very hard to defend such potent offensive players. This year we seemed to be not as creative in how we moved the ball forward. It seemed that there was a recurring pattern in that Ellie or Jessica started the offensive attack either by themselves or receiving the ball from Keelin. Then Jessica or Ellie passed it to Taylor or Kendall. Then Taylor or Kendall took it either to the center and tried to make a pass to a forward or they took it down the line and centered the ball. It seemed other teams knew this and knew exactly how to defend it. Felt that we got away from our UP style of offense and it seemed at times we were running at the defenders instead of using give and go passes to get around defenders and spread them out. Thought that our attacking mid and forwards were a lot of the times being swamped by defenders because of our recurring offensive pattern. Remember we did lose to St. Mary’s and in other games we found ourselves not scoring in the first half and/or coming from behind to win. Good stats and comments from Fan from Afar about goal scoring this season. Also am a fan that thought the Washington game was just waiting to happen to us and basically feel we were lucky to win the first time around with Washington. Interested to know what others take is on the type of offensive play this year from last year and why.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by dwm on Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:57 pm

I don't have the experience or knowledge of a lot of the above posters, but I have a couple of observations re some of the "key to offense" ideas.

Regardless of whether it's brilliant one-touch passing, give-and-go, or the one speedy brilliant player, it always reflects the quality of the opposing defense. The Pilots seemed to have all those keys perfected when they played UTSA, and it was delicious to watch. But against really good teams, they often couldn't get close enough for a really good shot, just lots of shots that were almost always saved.

Second, who is an example today of the one player who can break down a defense? Christen Press? She has an ability to do that, but it is very, very far from an ability to do that at will. Against good teams, she does it maybe once per 100 minutes, on average. It's inherently a low-percentage ability.

I agree that last year
"There was a lot of give and go passing between Sophie, Michelle, Kendall, Kendra, Ellie and Jessica which opened up the field and increased our chances to score."
But I think the Pilots played their game again this year. (Just ask UTSA, and others.) The difference must be some combination of improved opponents with the loss of Kendra, Michelle, and to a significant degree Kendall.

I agree that set plays on corners and free kicks ought to be something of a key. But ultimately, the answer is not easy, but too obvious: everyone on every team just has to incrementally improve their ball skills, teamwork, conditioning, speed, and strength, and then go out there and keep pounding away toward that goal, over and over and over, and over the long haul the teams with the most aggregate ball skills, teamwork, conditioning, speed, strength, intensity—and strategy helps—hit the back of the net the most times.

That's over the long haul. Statistically, the game is too low-scoring for superiority to come out on top in every 90 minutes.

It's a great game.


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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by onetouchfutbol on Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:44 pm

All good points. I think that in most years the goals start to become scarce as the competition improves. I can think of many years when we dominated and asserted our will until we got to the regional or the Final 4 of the tournament. In the first years when our talent level wasn't at the level of UNC and the best teams, the game plan was pretty conservative....even when we had some exceptional players like Milbrett and Michelle French. Later as our talent level improved, our game plans seemed to become less conservative and we attacked a bit more. Our first national championship was at least partially because of our abilities to have good counter attacks with Sinclair.

One positive sign that I see when I think of where we are now vs. where we were several years ago is that we more consistently dominate the shots on goal stat. Maybe our quality of shots got worse this past year. Maybe it's time to stress getting back to the bread and butter of Clive's offense... things like overlapping runs and technical play. (I'm not saying we didn't do those things this year, but, maybe less so in our losses.) If we do that, I think at least our current players like Foxhoven and Frisbee can meet their potential next year. We can only work with the pieces we've got, and I still am convinced we have Final 4 players on our roster...without a doubt.

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Re: Garrett Smith Looks Ahead

Post by fan from afar on Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:48 pm

dwm wrote:
Second, who is an example today of the one player who can break down a defense? Christen Press? She has an ability to do that, but it is very, very far from an ability to do that at will. Against good teams, she does it maybe once per 100 minutes, on average. It's inherently a low-percentage ability.


I haven't seen Press play enough - probably just one game this year so far. I think of Michelle as the prototype player who breaks down defenses, and I did see her play a lot. And, she did it MUCH more than once every 100 minutes - MUCH more. She ESPECIALLY did it consistently against the average and weaker teams - the teams we were beating 1-0 and 2-1 this year that we beat easily last year - think St Marys, and Portland State. Having a player like her enables you to practically always beat the teams you SHOULD beat, and beat them easily. We had a lot of struggles this year against inferior teams that we otherwise dominated because we lacked this type of player.

Please note that I am not saying a break down player needs to score a lot. IMHO, she needs to be able to do one (or both) of two things. 1- Like Michelle and Meghan, be able to take a ball, maybe around mid field, or entering the offensive third, and beat a player or two with the ball, drawing the defense to you and opening up the field for others; or, 2- be a player who can get the ball at the end of a good possession into a dangerous spot and get off a quality shot by beating a final defender (think Sinclair). This type of player is what we needed so badly this year. Think back to that PSU attacker who was so dangerous. I guess she is not in Press's league as an all around player, but still very dangerous. Picture her as a UP player and getting the ball maybe 7-10 times a game in dangerous situations near the goal that our great possession game could put her into.

I occasionally look at my CD of UP's first championship. It was a very even game - midfield was very evenly contested. The difference was Christine getting on the end of two possessions and getting the ball into the net. From what I have seen, this year's team was a far superior all-around team to that year's team, EXCEPT - that team had the scorer. This team didn't.

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