Shannon SoaresMonday is considered our “off” day. A day in which our student-athletes finally get the chance to sleep in, rest their bodies and catch up on school work. While Monday’s are technically our day of rest, they give me the chance to come into the office and reflect on the past weekend and turn my attention to the week ahead.

Reflecting on this Weekend:

We are coming off of another 1-1 weekend; one that was quite the roller coaster ride full of emotional highs and lows.

On Saturday morning, we had the team up at 9:30 a.m. for a dynamic warm-up on Kehoe.  With such a late game, we felt it was important for them to get their legs moving early in the day. We also welcomed our six verbally committed future Hoyas to the Hilltop for their official visit weekend on Saturday. They were divided up amongst our current players and were introduced to the GUFH family dynamic very quickly.

During the day on Saturday, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Board of Regents Athletics Committee, a group containing some of the biggest supporters of Georgetown Athletics. I very much enjoyed sharing the current pulse of the program, as well as our vision moving forward and appreciated the opportunity to voice our story.

After a team lunch, the team was back at MSF running through corners and prepping for a 6 p.m. matchup against Longwood. There’s something about night games that sparks a fire in coaches and players. In a very back and forth game against the Lancers, regulation ended in a tie which forced a 7 vs. 7 overtime period. Three minutes into overtime, junior Sarah Butterfield intercepted a pass in Longwood’s territory, beat a defender with speed and finished with a beautiful shot to the far post to clinch the win. In a game where we weren’t at our best, it was incredibly encouraging to see our players continue to fight and earn the win. The official attendance for Saturday night’s game tallied over 500, the atmosphere was electric, and as a coach, it was special to see our kids receive that kind of support.

We had a pretty ridiculous turnaround between our match on Saturday night and ournoon game against Lehigh on Sunday. We were serious about committing to recovery in terms of post-competition nutrition, cold tubbing and getting in bed early Saturday night.Sunday morning arrived quickly as we met for breakfast and a film/scout classroom session on Lehigh. We headed out to the field for a walk through of corners and faced Lehigh at noon on MSF.

We took some significant pressure early in the game from Lehigh, but were able to recover from it about 15 minutes into the game when junior Emily Weinberg scored off of a penalty corner. No more than 10 minutes later, we allowed a goal from Lehigh on a defensive penalty corner. We started out the second half quite reactive, allowing a goal in the first three minutes of play. Our team continued to fight and scored under two minutes later to tie the game back up. However, Lehigh would continue to pressure us and scored two unanswered, the final off of a penalty stroke in the 63rd minute of regulation.

As a coach, yesterday’s match was a tough loss to swallow, but also served as a teachable moment for our program. Tactically speaking, we cannot give up eleven defensive penalty corners and expect to shut teams out.  We have to do a much better job of protecting our circle and that starts with our individual defense in situations far outside of that defensive circle. On the flip side, we earned ten attacking penalty corners and only scored one goal. We’ll have to do a better job executing on our attacking opportunities and stop slowing ourselves down in our attacking third. From an off of the field standpoint, it’s important to note that the best teams out there are the teams that can take an emotional win, turn the page quickly and focus on the next task at hand, while building off of that momentum. Those teams never look back, they don’t look forward – they focus on the present. For us, we simply have to learn how to be winners, one day, one game  at a time.

Looking Ahead:

This week will go by very quickly, as we have just two full days of training prior to loading up the bus on Thursday morning and heading north to Loudonville, New York. We will play Siena on Friday in a 3 p.m. matchup and depart for New York City on Saturdaymorning to take on Columbia at 1 p.m on Sunday. En route to New York City, we will stop at the home of junior Taylor Craig for lunch with her family. It’s always special to see where our players hail from and spend some time with their families. We appreciate all of those who have opened up and will open up their homes to us this season.

We will spend this week focusing on individual and deep defense, set pieces, circle play and handling pressure situations. We are excited about the weekend ahead and ready to attack each challenge head on.

As always, thank you for your continued support of our program and we hope to see you soon.

Shannon Soares

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