Thursday, September 22, 2011

"To achieve great things you have first to believe it."

This past Saturday we had an away game against JyPK. We previously lost the past 2 games against them this season and were seeking revenge. Coming off of what could have been our worst performance this season we were able to turn it all around. The game started off on the right foot. The energy, confidence and teamwork were present. From the kick off we were able to get a good look on goal and never looked back. About 20 minutes into the game Linda played Jackie a great ball; she was alone with the keeper out and was able to chip her perfectly. Before the half we put away two more great goals. After a counterattack on a corner I played the ball up to Tiia who went 2v1 to goal, when her shot was blocked Linda collected the rebound and placed a shot into the upper corner past the goalkeeper. The third goal came off a cross from Totti, as Jackie slid to tap it in, it hit the post! Jenna was there for the easy put back and we were up 3-0. JyPK didn’t give up and were able to put one away before the half came to a close. After I saved the initial shot off the crossbar, the forward beat me to the rebound for their only goal of the game.

Going into halftime we were up 3-1. In the locker room we discussed how we would need to manage the game and not give them any cheap chances. We did a fairly good job of this and kept them to only shots from distance. Tiia was putting on the pressure when she was able to intercept a pass and went in 1v1 with the keeper. She easily slotted the ball and we were up 4-1 and in a good position. We were able to bring many things away from the game today. We had many opportunities to score, the communication has improved and we worked well together as a team. Jackie my roommate was awarded the player of the game and she got some really nice cups for the apartment!

The win this past weekend was especially important because we are right where we want to be in the standings. Going into the final two games of the season we control our own destiny. The first place finisher of the season will rise to the league, and this is still within reach for our team. We have a goal set and each day we keep pushing ourselves towards that. While we know what lies ahead of us we need to be careful not to become too overconfident because that is when we play at our worst. We are going to go out there have fun and play our game, whatever happens, happens! We are off this weekend and will continue the series next Saturday with our final home game of the season.

Other things around Kokkola… the season is wrapping up and we only have 18 days left! So crazy how fast time has gone by, although I will miss everything and everyone here I am ready to get home and see my family and friends! Kerstin, Tessa and I took an ice bath in the Arctic Ocean the other day, lasted 10 minutes! We attended the opening of a new small turf field at one of the elementary schools. We played 5v5 agaisnt the kids and lost! Everyone was really excited and it was a fun opportunity.  After the game we signed some autographs for them. Media Café, the coffee shop we attend almost every day will be sad to see us leave. Us Americans probably spend the most time and money at this spot! This weekend I will be spending time with my second fam the Astrom’s and am looking forward to some time with them! Check back next week for another update!

Hejdå för nu!

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Great teams work harder after a tough loss"

Saturday’s game was a tough one. We came out flat from the start and never improved. We didn’t play well together, passing was off, defending was bad and the morale of the team was not how it normally is. About 10 minutes into the game we went down 1-0 after Sport finished a breakaway. We went into the locker room down 1-0. We tried to figure out what was going on and snap out of it but the second half didn’t get much better.

In the second half the ref gave Sport a penalty kick. Although I dove to the correct side I was unable to get a hand on it and we went down 2-0. While the call was controversial there was some other plays made in the game that we got away with earlier. While it was clear we didn’t play to our potential, Sport took advantage of it and played the best I have seen them in the 3 previous games against them. With the loss we dropped to 2nd place but the standings are so tight that anything is possible.

It’s a new day and now we need to come together as a team and continue working towards our goal. It’s important to not get hung up in what could have been and learn and forget about it while moving forward. We have 3 games remaining in the season and the team is working hard each day. We have a full week of training before our next match on Saturday. We will look to bounce back and prove that we belong in the top 2!
A special congrats to the Umass Lowell team for their recent tie against the #1 team in the country!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fit for the Fight

I apologize for not writing in so long. Things here have been going pretty well. We have played two away games the past two weeks and came away with 3 points in both games.  We are currently leading the series and are in a good position with 4 games left.

This past weekend we got up early and hopped on the train. Our game was in Lahti which is fairly close to Helsinki. The train ride was a little over 4 hours and we had 3 different trains to catch. We made it to the game in good time and the weather seemed to be clearing up a bit. It has been raining quite a bit. The field was in terrible condition but we didn’t let that effect us. We went up 1-0 about 5 minutes into the game. Linda noticed the keeper was off her line and had some space; she let one rip from about 40 yds out that found the back of the net. We possessed the ball well and had some quality chances throughout the first half but we were unable to capitalize.
In the second half the opposition was starting to build some momentum but we limited their attempts on goal. With 20 minutes remaining in the game they were able to execute. The ball slipped by the defender and the forward broke through 1v1. I was unable to save it and the game was tied. With 3 minutes remaining in the game our coach told Heddi to calm down that he would be satisfied with 1 point, she turned around and yelled no way were getting the 3 points!! Seconds after that she received the ball and lofted in a cross that hit the far post and into the net. We played out the last minute or so and finished the game 2-1. It was an exciting game that showed our confidence and will to win. After giving up a crap goal we were able to come back and win the game.
We have grown tremendously as a team and we are taking it one day at a time. We have a goal in mind and it is up to us to obtain it. Saturday we play FC sport at home. We know it will be a challenging game but we are fit for the fight!
As far as other things that have been going on in Kokkola… My little bro Elis won the 60m in a track meet with the elementary schools today! GO ELIS!! I experienced my first parking ticket. If they are going to fine me, I will need the sign in English next time! We have a new American here playing with the other ladies team in town. Americans are taking over Kokkola! We had a great week with Kerstin’s parents who provided us with a lot of laughs and some funny memories. We only have a short time left in Finland so check back soon to see what else is going on!