2014 SEASON: NEWS: COMMENTARY: WHAT PREP DID WELL

Tuesday, October 1
COMMENTARY: WHAT PREP DID WELL

I would like to reflect, for a moment, on yesterday's loss. The Lady Comets played some solid soccer. Yes, there were some things that Abington did not do well; but I want to focus, not on the negative--not on when and where the Lady Comets may have made mistakes--but on what Prep did  do that helped them win the game.  So, for what they may be worth, here are my personal thoughts about some of the areas where I felt the Classics did a standout job:

1. Attacking the seams - Prep was able to find the space in between the Lady Comet defenders.  While I definitely agree with Coach Hunter's remarks in the newspaper that there were times when Abington suffered a "total breakdown"--and that there were times when this may have been the fault of our team-- some of this breakdown was due to Prep's crafty offensive play that "broke down" that defense. The back line did not always distintergrate on its own; there were times when the Classics' off-the-ball runs pulled defenders apart; then, Prep would find the seams--and they did this with some sophistication. 

2. Getting numbers forward - part of what helped the Classics break down the defense was the fact they did an excellent job of getting players forward into the box; getting numbers forward has been traditionally a very hard thing to do in the girls 'game, but when the Classics attacked, they did not have just one wide player and one girl coming up the middle; they also had both far and near post options available on almost every run up the flank; in fact, on the first goal, Izzy Clauss was intelligently directing traffic and trying to get the far post runner covered, and then Dominica Insalaco hit the cross astutely to the near post into a vacated space. Give Cara Griffiths some love for finding the open lane, pushing forward, and getting on the ball; for guys like Chris Clauss (who relate every other sport to football), this was like Prep having not only a primary receiver out for the pass, but having two secondary options to consider when the first pass is taken away by the defense.

3. Relentless energy - the Classics did not let up when they went ahead; they kept pushing forward for more, even though they were risking a counterattack from a talented Abington team; they did not do, what many other teams would do when playing a strong opponent; that is, they did not "bunker back" after they secured the lead; they did not settle in and "play defense" --they let their ball possession and full-speed-ahead attacking play their defense for them. I personally admire this style of play--some of you who read this website last year may remember my rant on the overuse of the "bunker defense"--it took some courage to play like they did against a highly-regarded Lady Comet team; but they did not lack confidence.

4. Capitalzing on turnovers - I really do not think I am prescient or able to see things with any extraordinary insight--I am just an incurable soccer junkie-- so there must have been a little divination at work when I just mentioned in my previous game article that I was concerned that if the Lady Comets could not clean up their "first touch," then a good team might take advantage--well, viola! 

Finally, I take second place to no one in my respect for Elana Falcone--I have known her for years, my daughter has played both against her and on the same team with her--she is very talented. In addition to being a gifted soccer player, she is a class act as a person. But with players like Cara Griffiths. Dominica Insalaco, Kelly Pompey, and Rachel Insalaco, this Prep team could put Falcone on the bench for an entire game and still drive holes into most any opponent. Prep is a team; and a team that is establishing great chemistry and is communciating well. They moved the ball around the back with effectiveness and the held field position when they needed to do so.  I give them credit!  They were a tough machine to stop yesterday!  Abington Heights may have not played its best game yesterday, but the Lady Comets are not "cream cheese." Prep beat decisively a high-quality team with a proud soccer tradition.

This is my humble opinion. What's yours?

By the way, as much as I admired the Classics' performance yesterday, let it be known far and wide that my favorite team is, was, and always will be the immensely talented and very cool Lady Comets! They have a tremendous season still ahead of them.