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A Look at Game 7
May. 5, 2018
On Saturday, May 5th, at the Big Sun Soccer Complex in Ocala, Florida, the U15 Division heats up a tight finish for the spring season. Two undefeated teams are bearing down on each other with one more match standing in front of their showdown the following Saturday. Their challenge? To not look past this Saturday first.
The 5-0-1 Ocala Hurricanes tout the toughest defense, allowing only one goal in six outings. They also lead the league with 3.0 goals/game on attack, with a total of 18 tallies. Eight players are on the books for goals and assists. "Any of our players can score," Coach Miley said. "They practice every day against the league's best defense."
The Canes face the 2-2-2 Burgundy squad, which just tied the other undefeated squad, Blue, 2-2, last Saturday. "There's always chatter among the kids about who's where in the standings, so we don't mind posting them here for our team. The other coaches also keep track, but as coaches we remind the kids that a scoreboard is not the only measure of winning results. All of the coaches are more interested in character opportunities and skill-building and team-building than scores. Burgundy did us a favor with that tie, but now they want to measure themselves against us also," said Miley. "This scores and standings can't measure heart. Heart can be seen in all these players. This squad took seven tough shots, but we hung onto this one, 2-0, with another solid outing from our keeper Aiden Chittum. A rematch against a tough opponent is always harder on the first winner. The first winner needs to keep the best hunger. We don't expect an easy path."
The 4-0-2 Blue squad will face the 1-5-0 Aqua squad. "Aqua is better than their record," said Miley. "Those two squads practice together on Field 7. They know each other. Blue defeated Aqua, 5-1, at a late match on the big field back on April 7th. This will be an early match on a narrower field. Things won't be the same. League Director Bobby Herndon will be filling in for Coach Michael Peterson to lead Aqua. Coach Bobby is a defensive minded coach, and he helps coach both Aqua and Blue with their practices. Aqua could step up against Blue after the familiarity factor helps Coach Bobby adjust his Aqua side to Coach Gorman's older strikers on the Blue side. Coach Peterson has helped to coach Blue when Coach Gorman was out. He knows his opponent like he knows his own team. Aqua could make that one a low scoring battle. It's always a lot of fun to see our league's players well matched, because they really rise to these occasions."
There are several possible scenarios as the season winds down, but Miley says the key is to focus on one match at a time, and to build his own team's identity as "a hard working, passing team."
"We know we have a target on our back just like last season. That's what happens to marathon runners and soccer teams that pull ahead. We just pulled ahead and we have a race to finish. Coach Darren (Johnson) knows soccer and he has some strong and athletic players on Burgundy, two from our squad last fall. Those two will be familiar with our strategies and formations, and we will be cheering for a strong contest from all the players. My former assistant coach from last fall is also working with Coach Darren, and he knows plenty. So there won't be many secrets. They aim to finish strong. It will be a tough contest which should be a lot of fun."
The Hurricanes will be down two players: Zach Kaiser, normally at right back, and Shelby Davis, normally at right midfield. "There's a family wedding and a family illness causing two of our players to miss this match," Coach Miley said. "Our prayers are with their families for these important times. Parents will notice our adjustments in the lineup pretty quickly. Anyone can play anywhere. Anyone can run a whole match. Anyone can score. They all are fit. And our defense is always ready. We know who we are and I have a few ideas to keep Burgundy off balance. We will just line up and play ball."
The Hurricanes take on Burgundy at 11:00 on Field 7. Bring your families, friends, cheers, and songs for YOUR Ocala Hurricanes!
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