The Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) girls’ soccer team opened up their season against Terrace’s Caledonia Secondary and teams from Kitimat and Smithers this past week.
The athletes dropped their first match 3-2 to Caledonia, then followed the performance with one more defeat – 5-1 against Kitimat.
Despite the final results, the Rainmakers’ outside midfielders and strikers had good games against Caledonia.
“Considering we started two weeks ago, the girls are playing pretty good together. It’s a learning process, but they seem to be figuring out their positions. We have a really good group,” said CHSS head coach Kyla Ragan after the Caledonia match.
Terrace played a high line, which contributed to Rupert being unable to clear or get the ball wide, leading to a lot of pressure from the Kermodes for the first 15 minutes. With the wet weather, and the early season jitters, there were a lot of missed touches.
The two CHSS strikers had good chemistry up front, and were able to get at the opposing teams defenders with some early success, creating a few chances in the first half, including the host side’s lone first half goal. Before that goal, No. 6 from Caledonia scored from a bad angle.
She was approximately 17 yards out and what looked like a muffed cross went in on the short side of the Prince Rupert net. The Rainmakers’ front line picked their goalie up with an equalizer just a few minutes after. The CHSS striker was one-on-one at the top left side of the box. She faked going to the touch line, cut inside and chipped the goalie. It was a great goal, making the score 1-1.
Another defensive breakdown for the Rainmakers gave the visitors a clinical finish on a break away, again from No. 6. That made it 2-1 Caledonia at the half.
With consistent pressure from the Kermodes, CHSS’s back line was forced up, but closed the space and blocked a lot of shots. The athletes from Rupert didn’t see much link up play between them and there seemed to be no real concept of why they would go backward with the ball, to keep their shape and then go forward, with their teammates moving to support each other with angles. Each player’s ability to control the ball under pressure, which comes from training, will come, as the athletes and coaching staff should get a better feel for the ball and each other in practice.
“We don’t have a goalie this year, so we have been rotating the players through that position. The game today didn’t tally up to anything, except for depending on the points, it determines the order that we play in for zones. Really it’s the first game day and everyone’s just trying it out,” Ragan said.
CHSS was able to execute later in the half, after a well driven free kick was put into the box from the left side of the 18-yard-box, and in the mess of players, CHSS found the back of the net, to make it 2-2.
Unfortunately, the tie game was short-lived as Caledonia netted the winner after the CHSS goalie lost her bearings in the net, and Cal capitalized into the open cage.
The athletes played hard until the end, and all came off the field with some added experience under their belt going forward.