Match Reports - September 3, 2011

Under 14 - Semi Final

Having beaten Footscray last week to get a shot at the grand final, we travelled to Footscray to face Altona. They have been our toughest opponent this season and this game was promising to be no different. It did not disappoint. It was a nail biter "tale of two halves". Our start to the game was the worst Lacrosse the boys had played all season. Altona was killing us in transition and everyone seemed unfocused.

Despite Altona having a sub-par goalie, we could not take advantage. Our offense was a non-starter and the few shots we did take were aimed squarely at the goalie's chest. They were beating us to every contested ball, our passing and catching was off and Altona raced to a 8-0 (yes ... this is eight to nil) half time lead.

We had plenty of supporters to whom we are grateful. The parents were there but also our state league and Division 3 seniors (who were playing next), the ever reliable Mike & Helen and a score of other club members. Even people from Malvern and Surrey Park came to support us. However, the mood amongst all was quite sombre. I am sure many were thinking "this game is over but at least let us get a few goals so it is not as humiliating".

Lucky for us, none of us were coaching or playing. Matt and Cocky managed to keep the boys from sinking into apathy, got into their heads that "it ain't over 'till the fat lady sings” and we came out into the 3rd quarter swinging. I would not have predicted it but Andreas - our smallest boy - was the one to stop the bleeding with a great goal. If the boys had hugged him any harder, he would have been injured. Within a few minutes we had score twice more and were 8-3 down.

Then something happened that really did not belong in an U14 (or any age group) game. After a contest for a loose ground ball, Altona's #12 (their best player) headbutted Aaron and started a fist fight with Naisar (who came to Aaron's aid but really should have stayed out of it). He was ejected from the game and this marked the turnaround point. We suddenly woke up, realised it was not over and started dominating the game.

Aaron and Caleb did a great job in face-off. In mid-field Naisar, Lincoln and Jet started putting their legs to use, Eddy & Aaron went to work in attack and our defence held up with a shut-out in the 4th. We slowly started chipping at the lead and with it the noise from the supporters became louder. The boys kept going and the score at the end of regulation read 9-9. Overtime. The coaches kept the intensity levels on and we took the overtime 7-2 for a 16-3 2nd half turnaround and a 16-11 victory. Not quite the 15-8 Cocky predicted and I am sure nowhere near the game plan they had in mind but a great win nonetheless. This was truly a team effort and all the boys deserve Man of the Match. We are into the grand final against Malvern.

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