soccer again

Well, our soccer team has continued to improve for the last couple years, both through improving the players we have and through finding friends to play who are good. We just finished a season and have built a pretty decent team and gelled together pretty well as a team. Early in the season we had trouble getting enough players to show up, but once we found a few more players and all got used to playing together, we've done pretty well. Our last 4 games of the season were 2 wins, a tie, and a loss. Actually, the last two games were a win (I believe it was our first winning streak ever). We ended in 6th place out of 8.

Every team makes the playoffs this season (since there were 8 teams, which is a round number for playoffs), so we actually would have made the playoffs regardless of the number of wins, but in 6th place our first playoff game is against 3rd place. The only other season I remember us making the playoffs was in 8th of 8, and we had to play 1st place. Obviously 3rd is preferable, though we lost to most of the teams who placed above us during the regular season. Oddly enough, our tie was actually against the team that finished in 1st, although the team that was in first for most of the season lost their last two games (we think because of missing players) and ended up in... 3rd.

We went into the game planning to play hard but probably lose. We were playing a team that beat us by at least 5 goals, if memory serves. But that was only our 3rd game, before we had enough players each game to really have a chance (almost anyone would lose playing the entire game with 2 or 3 too few while the other team has a full team plus subs). Well, we played pretty hard and at halftime we were only down 2-0. We'd played pretty well and had almost scored a few goals. It was close enough that some of us joked that we actually had a chance. In the second half we scored to bring us within a goal of tying it up. They seemed deflated. Our defense tightened up, and our offense kept attacking relentlessly. We played one of our best games ever (maybe our best), and we had several near goals. Finally, near the end, we tied it up. They were really frustrated and we were feeling great. We kept them from scoring any more goals, kept the pressure on their defense, and made it to the end still tied 2-2. In the playoffs, in the case of a tie you play a short sudden-death overtime, followed by penalty kicks if you're still tied. We went all the way to penalty kicks, still tied 2-2. Our guys did great, scoring 4 of 5, and our awesome goalie blocked 2 of our opponents shots, so we won the penalty kicks 4-3. Somehow we won. Three game winning streak and first playoff win.

Now we have to play the 2nd place team next week. Whoops, guess we didn't think that one through.

love is sacrifice

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