Hollis-Brookline Cavaliers: Welcome

Welcome to the website of the Hollis Brookline Girls Soccer Program - 2007, 2008 & 2009 Class I Finalists!

Excellence is accomplished through deliberate actions, ordinary in themselves, performed consistently and carefully, made into habits, compounded together, added up over time.

HBHS Girls Soccer 2010
2010 Hollis-Brookline Girls Soccer

Sunday, September 12
Hollis Brookline 6 - Merrimack 1

Simply an awesome match!  You reduced a very good team (Merrimack) to one that could only chase your speed of play.  While I have seen you move the ball well in 11 v 0 scenarios in training (when I call out the next three passes), I have never seen you move the ball with such purpose and with so few unforced turnovers.  Let’s go over some of the discussion points:

Caroline’s goal:  By the 4th minute of play when this ball was sent to the far post side netting, we had already set the tempo of the match.  The circulation was brisk and Merrimack was already chasing.  There were four fundamental building blocks to this goal:

Jill got very wide on the weak side (left) wing as the ball started working its way from the right back.  By doing so, Jill dragged Merrimack’s right marking back into a wide position leaving a ton of space just to the left of the spine of the field. Next, Alyssa took that space and got her chin-up and saw the gap on the right side of the line and played a perfectly weighted and angled ball into the run of Caroline. Caroline’s positioning (starting to creep-in from the weak side wing) and the timing and direction (toward goal) of her run were perfect. Lastly, Caroline didn’t panic, took a touch, looked-up and then looked-down and put the ball far post, as the keeper HAD to move to her left to respect the near post.  Simply textbook execution.

Eleven minutes later, Jill established herself as a threat to go to goal and to score, by a perfectly placed shot from 22 yards out into the far post side netting.  I can’t overstate how important it is that every play in the mid-field and especially our strikers to send the message, “You have better not play me as though all I can do is pass or cross.  I am a goal scorer.”

Three minutes later, Amanda drilled a ball into the net but, truth be known, I was giving some feedback to a player and didn’t see the goal!  I’m sorry!

Two minutes later, Natalie displayed outstanding 1 v 1 skill, beat her opponent to the end line and then showed great poise and discipline by not trying to jam the ball into the near post (fail) but by cutting the ball back to the 6.  Her discipline and Amanda’s stretched-out lunge for the ball were rewarded wit our fourth goal in 20 minutes.

In the 35th minute, Alyssa played a great ball to Natalie’s feet just to the right side of the box and Nat’s tuck-behind-heel (forever to be known as the “Natalie” from this point forward in Hollis) destroyed two defenders who expected a routine touch out to the right.  With a shooting lane now on her left foot, Natalie measured the shot and with clinical accuracy roofed a left-footed blast that no keeper in High School was going to stop.

Our last goal by Alyssa K was the result of that “boa constrictor” mentality that we are starting “to get” as the ball was played in, a hash of the rebound was made and Alyssa tucked in her third goal of the season.

As McHale mentioned after the match, “well done” with finishing today.  We’ve played many games where we’ve possessed the ball well, but your possession on Friday had succcchhhh purpose to it.  

Our strikers worked wonderfully together – with each other and with our midfielders and back line.  I really liked how Alicia started from a deep position and checked-back hard to create space and then kept the ball as a team.  I really liked how Lindsey was roaming the field with her pace and touch and power, providing that extra support attacker to help with our possession.  I really liked how Amanda threatened Merrimack with every touch she took, two of which were the final touches before posting another goal on the scoreboard.

What was so awesome to me (and I’ve seen you now win 90 games at Hollis – this being, by far, the best played) was that you possessed so well – not giving the ball away cheaply but not playing purposeless possession either.  What do I mean by that?  We could possess all day in the back and never score a goal.  Or we could recklessly play the ball forward and give it away at a higher frequency. No, what I saw was purposeful, effective possession that resulted in the creation of space and scoring opportunities.

So, where are our “good to great” opportunities?

1.  Second defender inside the penalty spot.  Heaven forbid that we allow an opponent possession inside the penalty spot along the spine of the field, but we can’t allow a goal from here.  Twice now this season I have seen attacking players keep the ball and come in from 18 yards out with a “first defender” alongside trying to swat the ball away – sometimes with 2-3 “first defenders” alongside swatting at the ball.   Remember, first defender has to get goalside, by definition. Secondly, second defender has to get into a support position, even (or especially) in such tight quarters.  Lastly, with an opponent on the spine 12 yards from our goal I need every other player making a sprint to the end line and position herself between the posts as another goal keeper.  We cannot just hope that we will clear the ball in these scenarios.

2.  If 80% of our passes maintained possession on Friday, then what do we need to get that number to 90 or 95%?  When you gain a sense that the ball has been in one patch of ground for awhile, the likelihood of more opponents occupying that space increases.  This is one of the reasons I like our four-square game so much.  When I see that it has been three seconds, four seconds, five seconds, I’ll shout, “Go somewhere else”.  Remember that when we find ourselves playing in a small space.  Go circulate the ball and play in a bigger space.

Summary:  The foundation of Friday’s win was based on your commitment to win your 50/50 balls (done individually and as a team) and your commitment to play two-touch.  All of the “good” that we enjoyed on Friday flowed from the demonstrated success in these two areas.  I am convinced that they are the foundation of any team’s success.  Do those things better than your opponents and you will win every match.  Allow your opponent to do those things better than you and you will lose every match.  Everything else is secondary to these two foundational elements.  I can hear Cruyff howling about “shape” but I am convinced that you can only play 2-touch with good shape.  Winning the ball back was soooo much easier because we had shape and we had shape because we committed to playing two-touch and playing two-touch well demands good shape.

You are in fine form right now and on Tuesday we will get a terrific challenge to that form when we play unbeaten Londonderry on the road.  We will play our style of soccer with the same level of commitment to 50/50’s and two-touch and force Londonderry to chase.

Wednesday, September 1
Another change in this week's Alvirne game

Mr. Rupp received a call today (Wednesday) from the Alvirne AD stating that Alvirne will be cancelling classes and after school activities (including soccer) on Thursday 9/2 due to the heat. Soooo, the games (V and L'O) are now back on the schedule for Friday 9/3!

Nice job today on both sides of the ball during the channel game!  I really liked what I saw from Orange and Green! 

Wednesday, September 1
Game vs Alvirne moved from Friday (9/3) to Thursday (9/2)

With heavy rains forecast for Friday 9/3, the AD's of HBHS and Alvirne have agreed to move the Varsity and JV games, previously scheduled for Friday, to Thursday 9/2 at 4:00 pm.

There is a nice article in this morning's Nashua Telegraph, "H/B Girls Show they Belong in Div I".   Outstanding match yesterday.  We can build on that.  We'll start that process today.

Wednesday, August 25
Training Plan for balance of week

Either we will train on Thursday and Friday or we are building an arc!

On Thursday 8/26 the Varsity will train on the Middle School field from 4:00 - 5:30 pm.  L'Orange will train there as well, but from 4:15 - 5:45 pm.  Same arrangement for Friday 8/27.

Over the next day or so, I will populate all of the training sessions in the website calendar so you'll know where to go for the rest of the year!


Wednesday, August 25
German reporter takes unsuspecting, amazing headshot

During a pitch side report before Sunday's Bundesliga match between Mainz and Stuttgart, Jessica Kastrop of Sky Sports took a blast to the back of the head from considerable distance while she interviews Stuttgart director Fredi Bobic. Thankfully she was OK and even found the humor in the incident (once the throbbing subsided). Then again, it's hard not to find humor in Bobic's startled "Oh dear!" flinch.  BTW, "Gute Besserung" means "Get Well Soon"...  :-)

Wednesday, August 25
HBHS GVS wins 5-1 scrimmage over Milford / L'Orange wins 1-0 over Souhegan JV

Varsity Scrimmage at Milford (5-1) win / L'Orange Scrimmage at Soughegan (1-0) win

Goals:  1st half 3-0.  Cappetta; Gerlitz; Gerlitz; 2nd half 2-1.  Milford; Gerlitz; Gerlitz.   Alyssa Kagenski had an assist.  Final:  HBHS 5 - Milford 1.  Gerlitz (4G); Cappetta (1G); Kagenski (1A)

Both sides boarded the bus and departed on time (2:15 pm) from HBHS.  The first stop was at Souhegan where L'Orange debarked and played a scrimmage against Souhegan's JV.

The varsity arrived early, got the field set up and started warm-ups at 3:15 pm.  Warm-ups included skipping, stretching etc.  We got our touches done and then played four-square to complete the warm-up.

Natalie got herself warmed-up with CP as the pitch became wetter and wetter as the promise of rain turned into the reality of rain.  Well, it wouldn't be Milford if it wasn't raining!

Injuries:  Amanda Salamone (sick); Caroline Barrett (thigh); Lindsey Vazquez (played about 2/3 of the game…struggled with nagging rib injury from the weekend); Katherine Kroeger (played about 1/5 of the game - all in the first half - struggling with thigh pain.  Did not play in second half.) Started game with 14 players; started second half with 12-13 players.

As expected Milford played flat up the field with five players clumped together in a back group / line.

Finishing inside of the box.

Long range shooting (Cappetta)

Good combination play up the right wing between Emily and Katherine.  Good, clean execution and decision making.

Winning 50-50 balls for 2/3 of game.

Work rate.  You outworked Milford throughout.

Poise and decision making in the back.

"Areas of Opportunity"

Finishing inside of the box. While we put four goals away with shots inside the box, we still tapped too many to the keeper in close where better Situational Awareness (SA) would have enabled us to recognize the hopeless situation (shooting on goal) and kept the ball instead.

Decision making by strikers - moving forward into superior numbers without support.  At times we looked like a rec team just mesmerized by the goal.  We were going to drag the ball forward regardless of the numbers against us.  We forgot all about possession shape and just plunged into the Milford back-line way too many times resulting in unforced turn-overs in the midfield.

Not putting the game away - with a 3-0 lead going into the second half, we could have possessed and had Milford chase us the rest of the game, but instead we CHOSE to play a boom-ball style.   This doesn't show much game savvy on our part.

Too many "nagging" comments..  "Becky, Come onnnnn" …. No place for nagging on the field - not on our team.  With all of those nagging comments were we "the team that everyone wants to play on..."?  Just something to think about it as we bring our goals to life and hold each other accountable for attaining those goals EVERY DAY.  


It's hard to be disappointed with a 5-1 win so I won't go fishing for reasons to be displeased.  That said, the decisions we make on HOW we want to play influence mightily the ultimate result of the match.  When we say that we want to play "our style" that has to mean something objective, observable, commonly understood and shared by all.  Soooo, my challenge to you is to take however long as necessary, collaborate with each other (this is an open book test) and define what it means to "play our style of soccer" and then overlay that template onto our performance on Tuesday… THEN lets talk about it…  ?  (I have Tylenol if you need it!)

Wednesday, August 25
Wednesday 8/25 update

Practice today (Wednesday 8/25) has been changed to 4:00 - 5:30 pm on the Varsity field.  No practice at 10:30 today due to weather.  I can't guarantee that we have that field available to us at 4:00 pm, but we will sort it out.  From this point forward, training sessions for Varsity will be from 4:00 - 5:30 pm and for L'Orange from 4:15 - 5:45 pm.

Congratulations to the varsity for the 5-1 win over Milford and to L'Orange for the 1-0 win over the Souhegan JV.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Scrimmage #4 link for a recap of the Milford scrimmage.  Varsity players:  please read the recap before this afternoon's session.


Monday, August 23
Monday Update

No training session tonight for either side (Varsity or L'Orange), however, L'Orange players should plan to meet Cruyff at 6:00 pm tonight in the lobby outside the AD's office in order to pick-up uniforms.

Sunday, August 22
HBHS Girls Soccer Update


What a great week for soccer at Hollis-Brookline!  Highlights:

Player Placement:  After four tough sessions, the coaching staff placed the largest population of players (39) we've seen in the last seven years at HBHS.  Our varisty side will start the season with 16 players and our L'Orange side will start with 23 players.  

Team Building:  Following  our player placement process, both sides took to the classroom on Wednesday morning to sort out who we are, why we're here and what our goals for the 2010 season would be.  In the Music room we heard from each of the Varsity players what their best and worst soccer experiences were, why they were selected for varsity and what we need to do differently to "close the eclipse".

Electric Fence - On Thursday morning we joined the two sides together to run the "electric fence" training session.  Don't Dive, Delay, Deny, Divert, Distract and Destroy...  Great job, Cruyff!

Welcome to our new teammates:  Welcome to Tatiana Garcia whose family has moved to NH from Miami, Florida.  Also, welcome to Vickie Jones and Briana Spence who will be taking over the coaching responsibilities for the Middle School team.  We look forward to working closely with the Middle School program this year to continue the culture of success on the soccer fields of Hollis.

Three Scrimmages played on 8/21 at Portsmouth HS:  The Varsity side, augmented by the services of Kayla and Erin, won two 45-minute games and drew the third, outscoring their opponents 5-0.   For details about the results, scroll down to the bottom of the webpage and click on the link to the 8/21 scrimmages.  

 Admin Stuff: 

There is NO training session on Monday 8/23 at 10:30 am.  Both the Varsity and JV will train at 6:30 pm on the Varsity Soccer field.

We will work with Jessie to ensure all players have mouthguards by Tuesday morning.

Upcoming scrimmages:  On Tuesday 8/24, both the Varsity and L'Orange will have scrimmages and will board the same bus which will leave at 2:30 pm.  The first stop will be at Souhegan, at which L'Orange will debark and play their scrimmage against Souhegan.  The second stop will be Milford HS where the Varisty will play against Milford.  The bus will wait at Milford for the varsity scrimmage to end at which time the Varsity team will embar, drive over to Souhegan HS and pick-up L'Orange.

Soccer in the local News

NHIAA goes to divisions in all sports

Girls soccer on decline in Nashua

Monday, August 16
Highlights of our First Day of Tryouts

Awesome tryouts sessions today….

We had 38 warriors try-out today for the Hollis Brookline ...

Thursday, August 21

The challenge isn't someone else