The Thompson Valley girls soccer team can maintain possession as dominantly as practically any program across the 4A classification.
Nevertheless, amounting to a tight-knit crosstown affair between two prosperous squads, Mountain View certainly did its homework before entering Ray Patterson Stadium.
Prepared to fizzle the Eagles’ aspirations of splitting the posts, coach Dirk Habig’s Mountain Lions stacked the defensive end of the turf throughout Saturday’s match upon sacrificing offensive opportunities to keep TV’s high-powered offense in check.
“We just couldn’t get the passes together to get inside and get the goal for a while there,” TVHS coach Randy Chase said. “Mountain View was really packing their defense inside, so it was tough to get through that. But we rallied and came out strong in the second half. We started playing wider, and that helped. ”
Alongside brilliant goalkeeping from MV sophomore Nicole Olson, Habig’s strategy proved successful for quite some time as the Longs Peak League foes found themselves scoreless with a tad more than 20 minutes remaining.
However, despite the frustration associated with penetrating MV’s goalie box time and again to no avail, the Eagles remained poised, knowing the ball had to find the back of the net sooner or later.
Or, as TV senior Taylor Bottoms describes, the Eagles acted as goldfish while laboring to dent the scoreboard –– which the senior forward achieved when rifling a clean shot into the right side of the goal as MV’s keeper dove left with 21 minutes left.
That was the difference as TV (11-1-1, 6-4 LPL) snatched a 1-0 victory over MV (7-5, 3-4).
“That goal felt really relieving because of how the game was going,” Bottoms said. “It was a little frustrating before that. But our coach told us to have the mentality of a goldfish. To not think about the shot that you missed and just keep going because the next one might go in. So we kept fighting and maintained our composure. ”
Though the Eagles will certainly accept their third consecutive victory, Chase’s team feels as if it could have snatched a multi-goal victory.
From start to finish, TV hogged possession and rifled shot after shot during a game where the Eagles’ goalie touched the ball once and didn’t need to record any saves.
Still, the Eagles give credit where it’s indeed due. As previously mentioned, Olson –– who entered the crosstown clash with four straight shutouts under her belt –– maneuvered across the box in lights-out fashion.
“She does a really good job,” Chase described. “We knew it’d be tough to get one through on her.”
“She had a fantastic game, and it was a great team effort,” Habig added. “Our plan was to keep the score low. Everything worked for the most part, and we played our hearts out. We’ve never played Thompson Valley that well. So this was a stride to close the gap. Nicole was a huge part of that. She had a very solid game. ”
While totaling double-digit saves, a trio of diving stops within the contest’s opening 30 minutes highlighted Olson’s superb afternoon.
Aware of TV’s offensive capacity, the sophomore described how she experienced some extra nerves as Saturday’s match prepared to kick off.
Nonetheless, becoming involved in the action immediately helped Olson shake those jitters out en route to constructing yet another efficient showing.
“I was expecting a busy game, so I was really nervous at first,” Olson said. “But once I kind of got going, I got less nervous. I don’t like to stand around and wait for shots. And I didn’t have to do much today. I’m very excited about how I played, and I feel that we played very well today. Everyone was involved and stuck to the plan. ”