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Girls Soccer Stories - The Tournament Part 2
We finally got there. The first game of the soccer tournament was to be played in a high school in the boonies. But the school was new and they even had a multipurpose turf field. Mia and her teammates were able to do some warming up but it was still freezing. There was a quarter-mile track around the field. A few parents walked around the black track to stay warm and watched the game at the same time. My other kids tossed a Nerf football around with friends for maybe 15 minutes. After that, they stayed in the minivan and watch movies. It was like being in a sunroom.
Just like that, the nine o'clock game began. A lot of people including myself had great expectations that the first soccer game should be no problem to win even in single elimination tournament. Mia's team had won eight games and lost one. Everybody knew that the last game that was lost was a fluke. Mia’s soccer team (we’ll call them the Greens) looked invincible by the way they ran circles around the other teams. The only team that beat her team had about three excellent players that were twice as fast as our best players. Mia’s team was also missing three players. It really wasn't fair because it was easy to take advantage of players who were more tired.
The team that Mia played (we will call them the Blues) struck the first blow. It surprised a lot of parents from the Greens. About five minutes before halftime the Greens finally scored. It was tied up. Mia wasn't in the field a lot but I just assumed that her upper right leg was still bothering her. My friend's daughter also didn't get a lot of playing time during the half. He assumed that a stomach problem that was bugging her in the morning was still affecting her. Nevertheless we all wanted the team to win. We’re all yelling, “Go Green!”
The score was still tied up in the fourth quarter. It seems that the soccer game may go into overtime. The blues broke the tie. It seemed that Mia's team was going to go home early. Time was running out. The game was played as if two professional teams were involved. Both sides played a very defensive game. When it comes to scoring goals it seemed like a bunch of girls were playing in the backyard. The balls were never hit too hard. They seem to go inside the net in slow motion. The goalies that seem very quick to react on hard hits seemed extremely sluggish on slow-moving balls.
One of the dads joked with me. He said that the teams we pummeled early in the season just got better. It was starting to seem that way. I joked back that the Greens play better in hot weather. Most of the games played in September and October were in fact hot and humid. With the Greens losing by one, time was running out. But an amazing thing happened. Mia's team scored so with a few minutes left the best that they can do is score another and win or go into overtime. There's still hope.
The game did go into overtime but it was short. It was probably no more than five minutes. There was a long pause in the game as the referees were talking to the coaches. I was too far away to know what was going on. I was standing outside of the track surrounding the turf field. I had to keep another eye on my kids to make sure that they stay out of trouble. At the same time, there were two boys teams that came early to take the field and were grumbling. They were in the 12-year-old group and had no stake in this tournament. They only wanted to use the field.
One of the coaches from the boys soccer team explained to the kids what was going on. There is going to be a shoot out to break the tie.
Mia's team and the other team lined up at the opposite net from where I was standing. Later, a goalie stood in the middle of the net and a player from the Blues stood about 10 feet away in front of her. From my point of view it looked very easy to score a goal at such a short distance.
The first Blue player took a shot. The ball went directly into the hands of the Green goalie. Green got a big break. The coach from the boys soccer team remarked that if the next one was smart she would kick to the corner. In fact, that is what she did. The green player kick to the left and the ball was in. I thought that was game. I thought it would be just like American football where the first team to score in overtime wins. Instead four more players from each team had to take turns and best score wins. If there was a tie they would do it again.