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HAWKS BLUE FINISH AS DIVISION RUNNERS-UP BY CRUSHING KANSAS RUSH ACADEMY 3-0!
Jun. 2, 2015
Saturday, May 30 - The Freebird Hawks Blue traveled to a muddy and wet Heritage Soccer Park for their spring season finale against Kansas Rush Academy 02/03. On the line for the two U12 squads was Second Place in Heartland's U13 Division 1. Sure, each team had excuses for subpar play, with the Hawks not having played in 3 weeks (and missing a starting defender), while Rush was in the midst of the Kansas State Cup. But the two adversaries came out and battled hard, displaying speed, skill, and physical play. One team, however, had a decided edge in every category. That team - the Freebird Hawks Blue - showcased lockdown defense, opportunistic offense, and spectacular playmaking as they crushed Rush Academy 3-0!
The first Hawks goal was set up by defensive pressure from Olivia L. When a Rush defender passed the ball back to her goalkeeper, the Hawks forward quickly pressured the keeper into a wayward pass. Mikayla was following the play, and the lefty alertly stepped up and hit a gorgeous right-footed blast over the keeper's head and into the goal for a 1-0 lead. However, she wasn't done! Minutes later, Lauren made a fantastic run up the right side of the field. As she drove to the Rush goal-line, she ripped a gorgeous pass across the Rush goal box. The ball rolled hard to the far post, and from about 10 yards away, Mikayla stepped and ripped the ball high into the goal for a 2-0 lead. What a great bit of teamwork for the two Hawks!
The score remained 2-0 into halftime, as the Hawks defense absolutely controlled the Rush attack. Kirsten withstood several physical battles (and fouls) to stop the Rush forwards. Alivia was simply outstanding in stepping hard to the ball, getting steals, and finding her teammates up front. In the second half, what looked like a sure goal by Rush to get them back in the game was tracked down and squashed by Alivia.
Also near-flawless in the back was Delaney, who showed speed, physicalness, and improved ball handling in shutting down the Rush attack. With Lilly H missing (and Allie missing the first half while with the Ravens Blue), Coach Duke called on McKenzie to start at center back. The quicksilver midfielder stepped in and did a marvelous job, working with the others to form a strong back line. Though rarely tested, Ellie was absolutely solid handling the ball - either with her hands or feet - with poise and control. Late in the game, Maya and Olivia L moved back to defense and did a fine job stonewalling the Rush attack. But before that, the two combined for another gorgeous play!
Driving up the right side, Maya delivered a lovely high-arcing cross to the back post. Beating her opponent, Olivia L was there to head the ball back into the right corner of the goal, giving the Hawks an insurmountable 3-0 lead! It was O's first goal off a header, and what a beauty it was!
That final goal seemed to sap the energy out of the Rush squad, as the Hawks Blue easily controlled the game from that point on. Amber and Courtney continued to frustrate the Rush midfielders, Mia S flourished in her new attacking midfielder role, and Allie came on to shut down any hopes of a Rush comeback. At one point, Coach Duke turned to Coach Dave (who had joined him after leading the Ravens Blue to a division-clinching win) and remarked at how quiet it was. Yes, as the darkness approached, the early evening game was among the last ones being played at Heritage. But it was still a bit eerie, as all you could hear were the girls talking to each other as the game played out. Soon thereafter, the final whistle blew, bringing with it applause and cheers once again. The Hawks Blue celebrated an excellent win to finish off the season!
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