SPRING SEASON GAME HIGHLIGHTS

11 February vs. Hackers:  [Commentary provided by Mr. Page]

'Twas a cold and windy night on the dark, half-lit pitch, but the excellent turnout of Penguins warmed the fires in our souls..... Most of the guys showed up for the game, but only 5 women (lucky - they got to keep running and stay warm). Some good passing, but a lack of any real chances for most of the first half. Hackers opened the scoring on a penalty kick by one of their guys (what? don't they want 2 goals by letting a girl take it?). Patti was hit on the arm in the 18-yard box by an attempted cross when she decided to protect her face and not take the cross in the chops. Bad call, Mr. Referee! Ian had the best chance of the first half on a near miss that just squeaked over the crossbar on a turnaround shot from the edge of the 18 (Nice long throw-in by Lisa to set it up). Score at the half was 1-0 for Hackers.

In the second half, we dominated in every aspect of the game. The defense was solid, and there were lots of chances to tie the game (though most were squandered on long-range shots by Ian). Bill had a great chance to tie the game midway through the second half, but his shot from the 6 was miraculously kept out by their keeper. Bill had another chance several minutes later when his shot beat the keeper but just missed the far post. Bill saved the day in the final minute of the game though, when he dribbled back and forth in front of the net, finally got a clear shot and slotted it into the left corner of the net. Nice game by all - especially the defense and hard-working midfield. Final score 1-1.

19 February vs. Amigos:  

Best forgotten.  Horrible pitch. Bill did manage to score by putting the ball through their keeper's legs in our only legitimate shot on goal.  Final score 1-4.
19 March vs. Marathon Madness:

Quite nice game, and a great turnout.  We got off to our customary shaky start -- not able to put two passes together, but still managed to keep them from scoring.  Things began coming together about 20 minutes into the match when we started being able to pretty consistently work the ball into Marathon's end and keep it there.  Several folks (Dante, Anna, Lisa, Jonathon and Bill to name a few) had good shots on goal, but it looked like it was going to be one of those nights when we couldn't buy a goal.  Great play by their keeper didn't help at all.  We finally got on the scoreboard at the 30 minute mark when Dante put one in the left side of the net from the top of the box on a nice breakaway.  We continued to dominate by hammering away at the goal most of the second half thanks to solid defensive work by the fullback platoon (Kristen, Ian, Marina, Vincent, Catherine, Mary, Jonathon, Patti, Joyce, Ryan and Jason).  Geoff really didn't have much  to do in goal most of the game.  Anna added the next goal by picking up a loose ball just outside the penalty area and blasting it past the keeper about 10 minutes into the second half.  Play by the midfield improved dramatically during the game -- Joyce, Bill, Charlie, Lisa, Patti, Laura, Joe, Vincent, Jonathon, and Dante were all passing well and running through to shoot when the opportunity arose.  Anna, Lisa, and Jonathon had several great shots that would have gone in if not for great saves by their keeper.  Joe finished the scoring for the night on a pretty header from the left side of the goal box off a nice cross from Bill with about 5 minutes left.  Great game.  Welcome to Anna, Jason, and Ryan; welcome back to Catherine and Mary.  Final score 4-0.

25 March vs. No Hands:

The ranks were pretty thin compared to the week before (six women and six men – including me [eek!]), but fortunately for us No Hands only fielded eight (total).  Our three-person advantage (and our stellar play) was too much for ‘em. 

Bill was a virtual cyclone policing up loose balls and good through passes on his way to our first hat trick in some time (Todd Hall had the last one about a year ago).  He also had two assists and several good shots saved by their goalie.  Joe got things started scoring-wise about 15 minutes into the match on a glancing header that rolled in just past the keeper’s fingertips.  The assist by Bill on that one made it a virtual replay of Joe’s goal in the last game.  Joe’s second score came on another feed from Bill about 5 minutes later.  Bill’s first came shortly thereafter from about 15 out on a sprint across the goal following a through pass to the corner from Patti(?).  That carried us into halftime 3-nil.  Bill got off to a good start in the second half with two more goals off an assist from Joyce(?) and Laura(?). [Ed. note:  Hey, I was at the other end of the field and couldn't see.  Help me out here.]

Part of No Hand’s problem was their commitment to an offensive strategy despite being understrength.  Fortunately, Jonathon and the rest of the defense were up to the task, possibly due to our interim keeper’s persistent bleating and threats of soiling himself right there in the goal mouth.  Fortunately, our fourth-string keeper only had to touch the ball three times in 60 minutes of play.  This was good in that he popped a hamstring about 10 minutes into the game and effectively couldn’t move after that.  He did note with some satisfaction that they scored a couple minutes after he removed himself from the field midway through the second half. 

Everyone played well – Catherine was hovering around their goal, threatening to score; Patti and Joyce were passing well, and both had good solid shots on goal; Marina, Mary and Matt (dial ‘M’ for mayhem?) all had great games in the defense and stopped most everything that came their way.  Vincent roamed from his stopper position, creating havoc in their middle and actually scoring the final goal of the evening on a run from midfield.  Joe had his best game yet, and in addition to his two goals he had several other shots that could have gone in.  Laura, in her third game of the day, had a good night terrorizing their folks in the midfield and making runs upfield.  Final score: 6-1.

23 April vs. Team Zia:  [commentary by Mr. Pope]

Our devotion to the game was quite evident as we played amidst a very impressive lightning display all around the field; thankfully the rain and lightning stayed away long enough for us to play. Team Zia either looked at the schedule and saw they were playing us or the weather forecast and got intimidated because only seven players showed up. Given our five player advantage, we had no trouble controlling the ball (and the game). Lisa opened up the scoring about two minutes into the game with a shot from the right corner. Brian and Joe followed shortly afterwards with goals of their own. Jonathan proved to be the man of the match moving up from his natural position at the back to score two goals late in the first half. At halftime Zia threw up the white flag and called it quits. Great game as well by Steve, Matt, Joyce, Laura, Marina, Mary, and Vincent. Even though the sides weren't even, we had plenty of chances to practice our passing and movement without the ball. Final Score: 6-0.
30 April vs. Team Thunder:

Well, back to our old ways of being understaffed on the female side.  (Thanks to Joyce and Patti for coming.)  Fortunately they were short one as well.  Being down two players was just a bit much though.  They started off the scoring about 10 minutes into the game, and that one was followed by a woman's goal a few minutes later.  We managed to hold them to 3-0 until the final seconds due to improved defensive play.  Even being outnumbered we still had some good chances to score.  Their goalie had a pretty good workout, saving good shots by Bill and Steve.  Someone had a strong shot from the 18 that went off their post.  For that matter, Geoff had a good night with several great saves.  Hopefully, we'll be staffed a little better next week.  Final score: 0-4.
21 May vs. Team Zia:

This game belonged to our backup keeper, Mr. Rancourt.  While Dante supplied the game-winner on a great shot from the 18, Brian saved several sure goals with extraordinary hockey moves previously unknown in this game.  This was one of the teams we annihilated earlier in the season (mostly because they were playing with eight folks) and they were doing a much better job this time with a full team.  For our part, we were playing pretty well -- Dante and Bill both had several good shots that could have gone in.  Laura had a good night marking their female scoring threat the last half of the game.  She wasn't much of a threat thereafter.  Joe, Jonathon, Vincent and Matt all had a good game in the midfield, and Ian, Marina, and Patti did well to hold the Zias scoreless the entire game.  Joyce was pulling double duty at forward and halfback to make up for being a woman short.  Welcome back to Erin (returning after marathon- and ultimate-induced leg abuse) who had a super game a far halfback.  Final score 1-0.
3 June vs. Amigos:   [commentary by Mr. Pope]

Hopefully, this was our last game at UT Rec. Welcome back to Mary and Katherine, who returned after spending most of the season slaving away in academia.  The game started off with a brilliant series of passes between Lisa, Steve, and Bill that ended with Steve passing across the goal mouth and Bill burying it home for the easy score. The Amigos playing one woman short countered by moving all of their guys into offensive positions.  Their first goal came from a fluke deflection off Patty, who deserves a purple heart for repeatedly sacrificing her body to block shot after shot in front of our net.  In the second half, our passing and play improved dramatically thanks to inspired efforts on both sides of the ball from Joe, Laura, Joyce, Mary, Katherine, Patty, Ian, Jonathan, and Matt; but alas, the shots just weren't falling for us. Final Score: 1-4. Congratulations on a great season (4-3-1 ain't all bad).