Cave’s Notebook

2016 Season

Monday, September 19, 2016 (Midway Report 6-2-0 & 1-2-0 (3 points)

In a blink of an eye the regular season is half over with 8 matches under our belt. As I reflect on the key events of the first half of the season [Here is what I think I think so far..]

Response to giving up an early goal against Jefferson: So we started the match against Jefferson very well. For the 2nd match in a row we controlled the pace, stretched out an opponent’s defense with our speed and aggressive style of play, and played with a confidence. Well, we gave up a goal. Down 0-1. I wondered what was going to happen. Instead of collapsing, pouting, letting doubt displace confidence; we kept with the plan, upped the intensity, and scored 4 unanswered goals.

Unimpressive win against North, St. Paul:    You know your program is changing when you are leading 4-0 with 20 minutes left in the first half, and you feel bad about it. The thing is we won 5-2 but were outscored 1-2 in the second half and really didn’t play well. Relative to the recent history of our program you would think that we would be ecstatic to beat someone in our section 5-2; instead we recognized that we played 60 minute of uninspired soccer and that we have a long way to go.

Loss to Woodbury: In sports humility is a hard thing to find. We were very optimistic heading into this match. We were undefeated and ready to win our first conference match in 3 years. Then we ran into a hurricane called Woodbury. They were fast [very fast], physical, aggressive, played at a very fast pace, technically and tactically sound, and really good. After the match our players gave Woodbury their proper respect and stated that they were able to learn from this match. To use Woodbury as an example as to where we want to go and what we want to be. Not only were we humble enough to say an opponent is better but to admit they were just better. Rare.

2nd Half Response at Tartan: Warm+Saturday+unknown opponent=recipe for disaster. Now, we were never in danger of this being a disasterous match, but we played a pretty boring and uninspired first half. I made a calm and quiet plea to have a better 2nd half, one we could be proud, one that shows what kind of team we are, one that we could get better from. Message heard.

Overtime Win Against Park, Cottage Grove: So, we traveled to Park, site of one of the worst matches of the 2015 season, to play our 2nd conference match of the season. We knew we were good enough to win with a good effort. Well, we played well enough to lead 2-0 at half (The scariest lead in soccer..). We came out and promptly gave up that lead and in a panicked and nervous fashion. But funny thing happened.. we regained our composure (poise), regained control of the match, and created several good chances…No chance more fun than the one we scored on with :10 left in the 2nd overtime. Not only did we get the win, not only did we comeback with a confidence and fight that shows maturity, we won our first conference match since September 10, 2013.

0-2 Rain Shortened Loss to Mounds View: Here is how I remember this match: Rain, had to fight, had the game plan, created a few chances, played better than MV at times, played even with MV at times, MV outplayed us at times; like a good rivalry match. Great play by our keeper but PK anyway. Down 0-1 at half. Great start of the 2nd half, creating more chances. MV goal. Lightening. Vacate the field. Announcement of suspension of match, Roseville players disappointed, disatisfied, wanting more; wanting 23 more minutes to finish this one out… #favoritememoryof1sthalfofseason

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 (3-2 overtime win over Park, Cottage Grove)

For the past few weeks we have talked about several things; one of those things is how we would react to adversity. Adversity was going to come; not sure when, not sure how. But it would come.

We saw a little against Jefferson. Gave up the first goal after playing a pretty good first few minutes. Down 0-1. But we responded well and went on to score 4 unanswered goals and put away a solid Jaguars team in the first ever Black and Blue Derby.

We saw a lot of adversity when we played Woodbury. We had trouble handling their style of play; fast, aggressive, speedy, pesky.. We were a bit overwhelmed. But we responded well and went on to beat Tartan 6-0 last the next match.

Last night against Park we again experienced adversity. After carrying a 2-0 lead into halftime we gave up 2 goals in the first 9 minutes of the 2nd half (and about 4 minutes apart actually). There was a lot working against us last night; history (had not won a conference match in over 3 calendar year), an excited and energized Park team, and the discomfort of not having been in this situation before (not only to win a conference match but having a 2 goal lead then giving it up).

Well, something happened.. we embraced the adversity. We took back the momentum, we dug deep and gutted through not our best match of the season, we stayed with the plan, and thus took a big step towards learning how to win.

Congrats girls.

*The Raiders went on to beat Park, Cottage Grove 3-2 scoring a goal in the last 10 seconds of the 2nd overtime.

Saturday, September 10, 2016 (6-0 win over Tartan)

Thursday, September 8, 2016 (0-4 loss to Woodbury)

Thursday, September 1, 2016 (5-2 win over North, St. Paul)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 (4-0 win over Hastings)

Saturday, August 27, 2016 (4-2 win over Bloomington Jefferson)

Funny thing happened on the way to a win tonight..

Before the match I couldn’t tell how engaged our team was. Hard to read this team so early in the season.

Were we going to be focused and take advantage of an opportunity to go 2-0 or were we going to disengage and let lots of excuses keep us from a win [coming off of a fairly impressive win against SLP, playing a team we didn’t know much about or have a natural rivalry with, wet/thick grass, fog, Saturday night, etc].

Match starts and we actually began playing pretty well..but a few mistakes and a great 20+ yard Jefferson goal later we were down 0-1.

This is when I noticed something different. Something I don’t think I felt last season at all, something different than you would expect from a team that is as young as ours..

A panic-free calmness and confidence.

Seriously, it was we didn’t even think for a second that we wouldn’t win this match. In fact I am sure that last season we would have packed it up, put our heads down, and spent the last 70 minutes trying not to get blown out..

Panic-free calmness and confidence. Huh.

Now don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play our best match (at least I hope not). We were a bit sloppy at times, a bit slow at times, made a bunch of technical and tactical mistakes, missed a bunch of good scoring chances [2 posts in one flurry..]… But what I saw was a team that kept to its our plan, kept attacking and controlling the pace, and knew they were going to win [didn’t just hope or think, but knew..].

Maybe even more impressive is that we were a team that showed some resilience and confidence [panic-free calmness and confidence actually..].

Huh.

 

Thursday, August 25, 2016 (2-0 win over Spring Lake Park)

Check back later for Cave’s thoughts on the SLP match.

 

 

2015 Season

Sunday, October 25, 2015 (Program Banquet)

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure how this season was going to go. So many moving parts. So many dynamics. So many questions. So many changes. So many factors.

As Roseville’s new head coach it was very hard to decide the best approach to the season. If you decide to build for the future you alienate your returning players; especially your seniors. They want to win now, they don’t have time to win later. But, if you decide to win now (and only to win matches) you may sacrifice valuable time to make changes & development of the future. Of course then you have the personalities, expectations, and dynamics of about 20 adolescent girls and their parents. As I said, trying to decide how to best approach this season was hard.

We decided the best approach was to emphasize the value of getting better in all aspects. Then of course the winning would (our would not) come, on its own. If we do things the right way, we do things with hard work, with passion, with teamwork; success would happen, regardless of what that looked like.

Now, for the sake of transparency, coach Lee and I knew the season was going to be a bumpy ride; We just didn’t know how bumpy, when the bumps would come, or what those bumps would look like..

Ok, so we started the season 4-2. We were named “Match of the Week” two different times. People outside of our program were noticing the Raiders. I was getting texts and emails complimenting our success. It was fun. Winning is fun. Especially in the day of instant gratification. And we were beating good teams, teams that beat us last year.

Then the bumps…four of the most frustrating matches of the season occurred. Right in a row. All within 8 days. Ugh. First, big loss to Park. Next, big loss to MV. Next, frustrating blown lead loss to St. Louis Park. Fourth, a super frustrating loss to Forest Lake. A match that lacked effort, energy, desire, poise, and pride.

At the next training the girls were introduced to a new mantra; “Control what we control.” We can’t control how good the other team is, we can’t control the weather, we can’t control the refs, and apparently we can’t control nose bleeds.
The last ½ of the season we talked a lot about effort, energy, desire, poise, and pride. We also talked about what it means to be a good teammate, doing our job, not making excuses, and doing things properly.

I would love to tell you that we completely turned our season around. We didn’t. We did however control the things that we control. Our matches were closer (the last 6 were all 1 goal matches) but more importantly we were competitive and we did things the right way.

Now, it is very hard to accurately communicate how I feel about this team. For them to buy into a new coaching staff, its new system, its new way of doing things, its new personality, its new way of thinking is humbling.

Even harder to communicate is how important all of our seniors have been to our program this season. And for the seasons coming up. We have talked about what we hand down to those who come after us; our legacy.

I really, really wish that these seniors could truly see the impact they have had not only on this season but more importantly the impact they have had on seasons in the future. I hope you all will look at this program in 3, 4, 5 years and really know the impact, the legacy you left. I will.

Now, I have said a lot of words. And after I was done writing these words I happened to look at our Instagram account. Josie and Mari wrote something after our final match together and summed up things better than I just did (and in many many few words). So I will leave you with these words of social media wisdom..

“This season will be measured not by the number of wins and losses, but by the friendships and memories built and the amount of heart that each girl played with. This year the team took immeasurable leaps of progress and each individual had a tremendous part of making that happen.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 (0-2 loss to White Bear Lake)

#controlwhatwecontrol. We have been trying to follow that mantra for the past few weeks. We can’t control certain things; how good our opponent is or how much off-season training they do, referee calls, injuries, weather, etc.

We can control our effort, our concentration, our and focus in training, buying in to our system, working on doing things properly to make ourselves and our team better..

Tonight we did those things; Now I know we lost 0-2, and I know that we want the wins to reflect our improvement, our hard, and our effort. But sometimes that is not how it works.

For the first match in a while we had a stronger 2nd half than first half. It seemed like we got stronger as the match went on. We made some adjustments at half, did some reflection and came out with a more aggressive attitude and style of play.

I would call that growth.

Our Players of the Match are on opposite ends of their careers at RAHS but are showing great development during this season. Maggy McGary played a great match in the goal. She not only made some good saves but more importantly she managed the match well. She came off of her line to gobble up long balls and challenge break-aways. Maggy also made decisions and stayed with them (very important trait in successful keepers). The other Player of the Match is Regina Ziegler. Regina is continuing to develop and become better adjusted to the high school game. Regina is developing confidence which allows us to see her physical and tactical development.

As our 2015 timeline is getting shorter. We are running out of time to develop. There is no question we have made developmental strides this season. I guess the only question is how that will translate these next 3+ matches..

#controlwhatwecontrol

 

Saturday, October 3, 2015 (0-1 loss to Irondale)

Tough match. Not much to say that the lose to Irondale doesn’t say itself. I think this loss helps illustrate where we are as a program and as a team.

Even though on some nights not much separates us from the better teams on our schedule (1-2 to CDH, 0-2 to Woodbury, 0-1 East Ridge…) we are finding also that not much separates us from the lower teams on our schedule (2-4 to Forest Lake, 0-1 to Irondale..).

Our team’s desire is never in question. We know our girls work and play hard. We know our girls want to do things properly. We know our girls want to have confidence. We know our girls want to win.

These things cannot simply be turned on during the match. That work has to be done and developed in the off-season and continued during weekly training.

If we want to have intensity in a match we have to train with intensity during the off-season and continued during weekly training.

If we don’t want to make technical mistakes during a match we have to strive to be mistake-less during the off-season and continued during weekly training.

If we want to attack with creativity during a match we have to be creative in the off-season and continued during weekly training.

If we want to be a leader on the field during a match we need to be a leader during the off-season and continued during weekly training.

Our Players of the Match were Annika Benson and Drea Barnes.

Annika continues to play to her strengths and be a vocal leader for our team. Her desire is evident every day she is on the field. She leads by example and by words.

Drea played the best match of her young varsity career. She continues to improve on the outside. She tackled hard, defended well, and moved into the attack quickly.

The loss to Irondale was hard and admittedly a bit unexpected. This loss is not the end of the world. Irondale is well coached and better than their record (and have the best keeper we have seen all season).

We owe it to ourselves, our teammates, our program, and our legacy to continue to improve and do things the right way. There are things we cannot control but desire, effort, attitude, and supporting our teammates are things we can.

#controlwhatwecontrol #whatlegacywillyouleave?

 

Thursday, October 1, 2015 (1-2 loss to Cretin-Derham Hall)

The funny thing about having higher expectations is that when you don’t reach them it hurts a bit. Conversely it is much easier to have low or no expectation; doesn’t hurt as much.

Tonight kind of hurt. Not in the way that Forest Lake hurt but in a raised expectations/missed opportunity kind of way.

Tonight we created really good chances to score; two crossbars and a ball slotted through the 6 yard box with the keeper no where to be seen. Tonight we played with energy and effort. Tonight we were organized for most of the match and played with purpose.

Our downfall tonight was lack of poise. At halftime we talked about a lot of things but having to win 50/50 balls and the fact that CDH was going to come at us were two.

Well, we didn’t win 50/50 balls but CDH did come at us.

Hard.

All we had to do was weather the storm. But that didn’t happen. Mid way through the 2nd half we were met with some adversity and we lost our poise (our ability to perform under pressure and through adversity). That is when negative self-talk crept in and pushed out the positive self-talk and the positive words of our teammates.

I get it. This team has lost a lot of matches in the past few years. With the history of those losses comes doubt. That is something we as a program are going to have to fight through. We need to fight to keep the negative tapes from playing in our heads and start recording new tapes.

A program culture change if you will.

Our Players of the Match continue to remind us that we need to stay poised and improving. Kallie Tuominen is getting better. A stronger presence in the middle of the field. With a team that runs a formation that has only 1 central midfield player, we are asking Kallie to do a lot and bring a more physical presence to the match. Which she did.

The value of this Player of the Match was illustrated when she got injured. Alice Feist has made her adjustment to center back very smoothly. She is a calming presence in the middle with her leadership, physical & aggressive play, and smart choices. Our team lost a bit of poise when Alice left the field tonight.

Tonight hurt a bit. It hurt because we have decided that we want to improve and not only compete with the best teams in the conference but beat them. We had a chance tonight. Our expectations have been raised. That is why it hurts.

#controlwhatwecontrol #higherexpecations

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 (0-1 loss to East Ridge)

“We need to control what we can control.” That is our mantra for the rest of the season (of course “Improve every time we are on the field” has been our working mantra since the summer).

Heading in to tonight we were in need of a positive match. We have given up too many goals and not played with much confidence, desire, zeal, or pride against conference opponents.

Tonight could have been brutal. Coming off of a lackluster performance against Forest Lake and playing the 2nd place team in our conference. Instead we turned out our best, most spirited, and complete match of the season.

The one thing that stuck out to Nicole and I the most was how we responded to East Ridge’s goal. In the past few weeks we would have pouted, gotten down on ourselves, and let negative self-talk enter our minds. Instead we upped our effort, stayed positive and poised, and continued to make runs at East Ridge’s defense.

Kaylee Nelson was rewarded for her efforts all over the field tonight by being chosen as Player of the Match. We ask Kaylee to do a lot. She plays 3 different positions, she rarely comes off the field, and we ask her to bring energy and effort to lead by example. She did that again tonight. Michelle Gontarek has had ups and downs this season as a freshman keeper on varsity will do. Michelle turned in her best and most consistent performance of the season. Keepers are the barometer of the team. Mishe was confident, solid, consistent, and inspired confidence during the match.

As we move forward our objective is still to improve every time we are on the field which we can only do with the type of effort and confidence we showed tonight.

#controlwhatwecontrol

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 (2-4 loss to Forest Lake)

Saturday, September 19, 2015 (1-4 loss to St. Louis Park)

Thursday, September 17, 2015 (0-9 loss to #2AA Mounds View)

Not sure what to feel about tonight’s match. On one hand I want to take each aspect of the match and analyze it, read into it, break it down, get worried about it. I mean, we lost 0-9 (That is a huge loss and wasn’t too fun).

On the other I want to write it off as just a loss to the best team in the state, a growth opportunity, a learning experience and a match in the past. I mean, we lost 0-9 (not much we can do about that now).

We are very fortunate to have gotten to play the best team in the state. We got to learn what a great team looks like and measure ourselves to that great team, we found out how we need to play to elevate our program to a higher level. We had to persevere, play with pride (even though it would have been easier not to), and relish a chance to get better.

The first 4 matches was the hardest part of our conference schedule. We played 3 of the best 4 teams. On one hand; stinks. On the other hand; we were able to have an opportunity to get better and hopefully raise our level of play before the last half of the schedule.

Our Players of the Match gave us hard work and continue to improve on their game. Annika Schmidt has played in a certain spot in a certain way for a long time. She is working hard to play a bit differently in our system and to compliment the style of players she is playing with. Sometimes we ask Samantha Betterman to play in the middle, sometimes on the outside. Samantha will always go into the match and try to give us what we need and where we need it.

We are halfway through the regular season. Our four losses are against 4 top 10 teams in the state and 3 of the top teams in our conference.

I am very curious to see how those matches have prepared us for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Good thoughts go out to Megan Eklund as she has surgery this morning to repair her ACL. Megan has kept a great upbeat and extremely positive attitude these past few weeks and we know she will be back better than ever next season!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 (0-5 loss to #8AA Park)

Well, we ran into a steamroller tonight. This was a match that we were never really in sync. Our effort was there but things didn’t click. If we didn’t know that our conference was good before last night we do now.

Park played a style that was very direct. They have fast and pesky players up top and they got in behind us often. Even if they didn’t directly score by getting behind us they shifted our formation, made us panic a bit, and kind of kept us from doing what we do best; stay organized in the back, take away the middle, and move the ball on the ground forward. They are ranked #8AA for a reason.

Our Players of the Match gave us great poised effort against Park. Kaylee Nelson player her most active match of the season. Kaylee stayed disciplined in her position, played simple, made attacking runs, and defended her position well. Alice Feist played a solid match both in her usual outside spot and at center back. Alice is growing in confidence and it is showing more and more each match.

Moving forward one thing we cannot do is let this match, or any match, define what and who we are. This was only one match and doesn’t show the entire picture of who we are as a team or as individuals.

What this match does do is show us how much our expectations have risen. It is fun to have high expectations. It feels good. It is a proud feeling. The downside to high expectations is that it hurts more when we have a result like this.

We know where we have been and don’t want to go back. We see what we can become but we are not quite there yet. Our goal is to become better each time we are on the field.

We have to stay patient, learn from tonight, and move forward.

Saturday, September 12, 2015 (1-0 win over Blake)

Wasn’t sure what this match WOULD be like. Was it going to be a bounce-back match for us or was it going to be a start of a downward trend. Even though we played well in the 2nd half versus Woodbury the girls were disappointed because we thought we could have had a better result. Was negativity going to set in or were we going to have a positive response. After all we were playing a team with a deep legacy of winning and state tournament appearances who happen to be ranked in the top 10 of Class A schools…

We knew what this match COULD be like. We have seen the girls improve as individuals and as a team the past 3+ weeks. We know the girls were good enough to beat Blake. (Of course winning is not ever our primary objective. Playing well and improving are..).

In our estimation the girls played even or outplayed Blake for the first 60 minutes. In fact we felt we could have been up 1-2 goals by half.

In our estimation Blake outplayed us for 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes, coming near the end of the match, could have been the difference. Blake had several chances. A few of which forced us to make good plays to keep the ball out of the net.

But then something happened. We responded. 10 minutes of controlling play. Instead of feeling fine with a tie or a 1 goal loss we responded. A goal off of a service (in this case a header off of a corner). We had serviced the ball several times during the match with nothing to show for it. But we responded. With 3 minutes left in a great match we responded.

Our Players of the Match were Kaia Porter and Kallie Touminen. Kaia put pressure on Blake all day. Whether it was her distribution, shots on goal, her control of the air, or her services across the goalmouth, Kaia put pressure on Blake all day. Until the final bit of pressure produced as nice of a head ball goal you will ever see.

Giving Kaia that ball was our little, little Raider, Kallie Touminen. Kallie had given us great service all day as well. Whether it was several corner kicks or dead balls from the side, Kallie put the ball in the right spot almost every time. Even though the quality of her service was very evident today, it was a number of runs through the midfield to join the attack that shows us Kallie’s maturing and developing.

Coach Lee and I are very proud of this win. In fact you could say we are very excited about this win.

Besides the win, the thing we are most impressed with is that the girls are starting to believe in themselves and each other.

Thursday, September 10, 2015 (0-2 loss to Woodbury)

This past week someone at MN Soccer Hub noticed us. In fact our match with Woodbury was listed as the #5 match of the week. The way I figure it this is both good and good/bad.

Good in the sense that people outside of our program are noticing what we in the program are seeing; girls working hard, getting the new system, playing with intensity, playing for each other, and getting better.

Good/bad in the sense that we will not longer go unnoticed. That is a huge step towards building our program but with that comes a level of outside expectation that could stress out a young team.

Our conference is hard. Really hard. The Suburban East Conference has some of the best teams in the state with long legacies of winning. Teams that have players who train with MN ODP, Developmental Academies, and Premier teams.

We started our conference season started last night with a 0-2 loss.

One of those goals was scored in the first 3 minutes of play. Not really the focus and intensity we want starting a match. Discouraging.

The encouraging thing was how we responded; intensity went up, defense tighten up, and we started to connect passes.

Unfortunately we suffered another lapse of focus with a few minutes left in the first half. 0-2.

Coach Lee and I made some adjustments and clarifications for the 2nd half and the girls responded perfectly. We held Woodbury to 0 goals in the 2nd half with very limited chances. Our containment in the midfield improved, and we had 3-4 legitimate chances for goals. A great step forward.

One girl who worked her tail off for us last night (while being sick) was Player of the Match Echo Hawton. Echo was aggressive, communicated, out-ran, out-hustled, and out-passioned the girls of Woodbury and set a great example for our younger players.

Molly Ryan was chosen as Player of the Match for the adjustments she is making and the on-field understanding she is showing. Molly is continuing to improve and continues to make the correct runs. The 2nd half of this match was her best so far of the season.

Sometimes outside expectations makes a team panic and underperform but sometimes outside expectations makes a team rise an exceed its own expectations.

I guess we will see.

Thursday, September 3, 2015 (2-1 win over North, St. Paul)

3 matches + 2 ot periods + another 21 minutes = 271 minutes. 271 minutes. That is how long it took for this team to really start to truly believe in itself.

We opened today’s match by moving the ball, keeping NSP players in front of us, putting pressure on NSP, passing to feet, playing quicker, and building confidence.

After our goal I think I saw players pinching themselves. If you looked really really close you could see the thought bubbles above our heads read:

“Hey, are we ok?”
“Wait a minutes, NSP was like 11-6 last season.”
“I think we are beating a section opponent.”
“Wait, we are capable of playing pretty well..”
“I hope Cave cancels training tomorrow morning..”

Now, we have a long, long way to go. We really haven’t done much yet. We hit our conference season in 1 week and those teams are good. Very good.

Our Players of the Match sit right in the middle of an improving defense and in the back of an improving team. Echo Hawton and Abby Jackson continue to communicate, work hard, bring energy, and play well. They were our foundation tonight.

[Shout-out to Drea Barnes for the first goal of her varsity career. I loved her patience as she framed the far post. #textbook]

Now, a word of caution: We haven’t arrived anywhere nor have we finished anything yet. In fact the trip has just begun. But we have taken a first couple of big steps.

If we don’t believe in ourselves no one will believe in us? [and it took 271 minutes].

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 (1-0 (ot) win over Hastings)

So tonight’s match was a match of opportunity. We had an opportunity to go 2-1, we had the opportunity to continue to improve, and we had the opportunity to prove ourselves (both to other people and to ourselves).

Now, we didn’t connect passes like we wanted; but we tried. We didn’t move to the attack like we wanted; but we adjusted to what Hastings gave us. We weren’t as crisp as we wanted to be; but we worked really hard.

We stayed with our system, fought through the heat, and beat a team that is really, really heavy on the 18 year-old seniors.

The individuals on this team worked to get better, to stay poised, and supported each other for the entire 90 minutes. As a team we did what we had to do.

Congrats to Frosh Michelle Gontarek for her first career shut-out (I am sure the first of many). Nothing like on the job training.

Great effort on both sides of the ball from our Players of the Match; Senior Annika Benson & Annika Schmidt. AB was strong the entire match and AS stayed patient.

Man, fun to get a win as we are learning and getting better. I am glad for that opportunity.

Saturday, August 29, 2015 (0-2 loss to #5AA Centennial)

How are we going to present ourselves? That was the big question today. Last year Centennial beat Roseville 0-6 and currently they are ranked #5 in AA. It was hot, we have many injuries (some girls are sidelined some girl are playing hurt). There were many, many built in excuses today.

We did get beat today. We didn’t score or a goal or mount much of an attack. However what we did do today was A. Establish a presence in the middle of the field, B. Played pretty good team defense, C. played our system as well as Centennial played theirs.

Freshmen Sierra Dimmel and Alice Feist were named Players of the Match for different reasons. Sierra gave us several spirited and gutty minutes coming off of a hamstring injury. She played the system well and ate up minutes when we needed it.

Alice is constantly getting better. She is an anchor of our defense and prevented scoring chances from happening and took a potential Centennial goal of off the line in the 1st half. If Centennial scored a 2nd goal the result may have been much different.

So, how did the girls feel they presented themselves today? We are a team that is better than people think, that works hard, that doesn’t give up, that does things the right way, that stays poise, that plays their system well, is positive and supportive, and play with energy and spirit.

Thursday, August 27, 2015 (3-1 victory over Spring Lake Park)

This was a big day for the Roseville Girls Soccer program. Not only was this the first matches of the season but the girls soccer program went 3-0! (B-Squad won 3-2, JV won 2-0, Varsity won 3-1).

Before the match I likened this first match to the beginning of a big trip; not only are you excited that the trip is finally here but you may be a bit nervous knowing that there are many miles ahead of you. You have no idea what is going to happen but you do know that every trip has its up’s and down’s.

Once the match started, it took coach Lee and I about 4 minutes to identify what Spring Lake Park was trying to do and make our adjustment plan. We communicated to the girls on the field and the girls adjusted, and then exploited, what SLP was trying to do (play 3 in the back, over-load the top, and have their central players play through balls to their attackers).

Did we play a perfect match? Not by any means, but the girls stayed focused, made adjustments, played hard, kept trying to learn, and gutted one out. Remember: We went into the match with 3 girls out because of injury and lost one because of injury right before halftime. Again, a gutsy win.

Enough cannot be said about Britt Quigley and Megan Eklund, our Players of the Match. Britt worked her tail off in the middle of the field protecting our defenders and linking our defense to our attack. Britt has not really played in the holding midfield spot but played it perfectly tonight.

Megan was the catalyst that got us going. The pressure that Megan put on SLP’s back line softened and disorganized their backs which allowed us to attack them from them midfield through the space behind the defense.

Yes, one match does not make a season but a team building and changing could not have asked for a better first step.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 (Mahtomedi & Como Scrimmages)
Scrimmage Objectives: Evaluate, Instruct/Learn, Develop, Fitness

So going into the scrimmage portion of the season Coach Lee and I had no idea what to expect. With a new coaching staff teaching a new system “winning” our scrimmages would have been an unfair (and frankly not a very valuable) goal. These scrimmages were a time to evaluate what we have to work on, start to teach our new system and its nuances, and work on our fitness (that objective was added after starting our scrimmages).

The scrimmages were what you would expect; we did some good things and we identified some things we have to work on.

Strengths: The girls are open and willing to work hard to learn a new system and caught on quickly, the girls showed patience in their learning, we hit our target players well, showed some positive changes in positioning, flexibility in playing new positions (often without much training or notice).

In Progress: Understanding the new role of outside backs & mids (and the marking relationship between the two), playing off of the target player, fitness, focus & urgency in marking in the back, linking the back to the middle to the top, intensity & speed of play.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 (1st -and only- day of Mini-Camp)

Session Overview: Our 4 day Mini-Camp turned into one for various reasons. We had a spirited 30 girls attend the first annual camp. The weather was nice (although very windy).

Session Emphasis: Learning the tryout activities (what to do, the reason behind them, and what coaches will be looking for).

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• Cave is happy with the skill level he has seen this summer but pace of play and intensity has to increase if RGS is to compete with the top teams in the conference.

• First defender makes the next play obvious, second defender supports 1st defender.

• When doing a 3v2 or other defending activity coaches will look for A. understanding of 1st & 2nd defender concept, B. defending on the ball, C. ability to team defend, D. intensity and focus.

• It’s really hard to run into a 30 MPH wind.

• When doing a possession activity coaches will be looking for A. moving off the ball, B. communication, C. poise with the ball

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 (5th Session of SDT)

Session Overview: [Coach Cave out of town with the family so coach Hayden ran the girls through SDT today] With basketball, orchestra and band camp behind us we had big group starting our 3rd week of training! All 35 girls got lots of touches on the ball and seemed only a little distracted with the 4th being just around the corner:)

Session Emphasis: Movement off the ball to keep possession

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• It is the rest of the team’s responsibility to be available for a pass from the player with the ball. We need to move to help them, not the player with the ball’s responsibility to dribble around to find someone open.
• Providing an angle for a passing and making runs into space
• If you’re not in position to receive the ball for the first pass, thinking ahead to be available for the second pass.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 (4th Session of SDT)

Session Overview: Busy week continues for the soccer girls. Numbers down a bit today, 14. But we added a few coaches! JV coach Hayden, B-Squad coach Tavernit, and Freshman coach Scott joined coach Cave. Great way for all of the girls to get a feel for this new coaching staff.

Session Emphasis: Possession Under Pressure.

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• First touch, teammate movement, communication, speed of play, and making/using space are the most important aspects of possession soccer.
• It is very, very important to build on what we have done earlier in the session and from previous sessions.
• We have a really, really good coaching staff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 (3rd Session of SDT & 2nd Session of SGKDT)

Session Overview: Busy week for Roseville soccer girls. Basketball camp, church camp, orchestra camp, jazz camp, etc.. Perfect weather today (again)! Great to have JV coach Katie Hayden come to support SDT today (Girls were very happy to see her!). Very pleased with the 18 girls today (14 field players, 4 keepers). Great to have 4 8th graders and a number of first time SDT players show up today. Still learning activities. Intensity & pace will start to increase for the remaining sessions.

Session Emphasis: Principles of Possession (and a little 1st/2nd defendering, and finishing off of service).

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• First touch is the most important factor in a possession style of game.
• Teammate movement is the 2nd (If your teammate cannot pass it is not her fault. It’s yours).
• Cave’s old elementary school (Lake Owasso) is now going to be a nursing home.

Keeper Session Overview: Coach Swallen worked with 4 girls and 4 boys keepers (one being a visiting keeper from BSM).

Keeper Session Emphasis: Footwork & simple saves.

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• Use the ground as a third hand.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 (2nd Session of SDT)

Session Summary: About 32 girls showed up (although we seemed to get a different number every time we counted). Session flowed a bit better than the first day and everyone seemed to work hard.

Session Emphasis: Defending. Talked about defending all over the field. Introduced ideas of first and second defending and what that means for team defense.

Role of 1st Defender: A) Make offensive player’s next move obvious, B) Win your 1v1 match-up. C) One thing can get by you when defending the player with the ball; the player or the ball. #notboth

Role of 2nd Defender: A) Since the 1st defender made the attacking player’s next move obvious, support her on the side she could get beat. B) Communicate rotation and switches.

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• Words are hard.
• We forgot the theme of the training session when we started to do large field activity.
• Everything Cave does builds on what we did the activity before, the day before, and even the week before.
• Please do not forget the theme of the training session.
• Cave lets players figure things out for themselves (which can be frustrating at times but is better in the long run).
• A long, penetrating pass IS ok in possession soccer.
• Keeping the ball is more important than moving forward (but can do both keep the ball and move forward).
• Cave’s cone game is pretty tight.
• The Roseville girls soccer program is in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (First Session of SDT & SGKDT)

Session Summary: Wasn’t sure what to expect. Very pleasantly surprised with the turn out-about 35 players. Girls worked hard and seemed ready to start a new era of soccer at Roseville.

Session Emphasis: Worked on 1 and 2 touches and using ACCURACY and SPEED in an activity as a way to improve individual technical skill (did you notice every activity was limited to 1 and 2 touches?)

Some things we learned & “Learned”:
• No sorries.
• Accuracy and Speed.
• Keep the ball away from the molten lava.
• A small step can freeze a defender (and buy time).
• Keep defender on your hip.
• Knock the ball as you run through a pass (don’t swing the leg).
• Physics.
• Communication needs to increase as speed of play increases.