With seven players out with an assortment of injuries, Faith Christian’s communication on the soccer field has become imperative because all those new players are learning a new position on the fly.
The Patriots’ communication was good Friday afternoon against Wayne Country Day.
So much so, that Faith Christian dominated possession in the second half.
It was just two times in the first half when the usually chatty team was hushed. Silence turned into two goals allowed and eventually, a 2-1 loss.
“We had a couple letdowns on defense and that’s when they made us pay,” Faith Christian girls’ soccer coach Joey Parks said.
Faith Christian senior Theresa Hall had spent most of her soccer playing career at center midfielder. She was more of an attacker than a defender, but because of injuries this season her role has changed.
Now, she’s at the center of the Patriots’ defense.
While she’s still growing comfortable there, it’s her addition to the defense that has made it stronger.
“I’ve really tried to implement communication, and it has really helped out,” she said. “I do mostly yelling, but it works out.”
Faith Christian (5-8-1, 2-4 CPIC) allowed five goals in its first game against Wayne Country Day (10-5, 4-2), but through the first 25 minutes of the first half, the Patriots hardly allowed a shot.
Loose balls would bound into the 18-yard box, but because of the Patriots’ communication, Hall or one of her teammates were able to clear the danger.
Anything else was covered up by goalkeeper Ashlyn Becker, who made nine saves.
“We’ve started to play to our potential,” Parks said. “We’ve struggled with that all year because we’ve had to juggle our lineup so much because of injuries. I thought they played very well, passing the ball, moving to space, checking back to the ball, communicating.”
Only twice did communication break down. The first time, Wayne Country Day forward Sara Best rolled off a defender and finished with her right foot 27 minutes into the game. Best scored against less than eight minutes later on an airborne through ball and spun to the back post.
Sandwiched in between Best’s goals, Hall grew impatient.
Not with her defense but with her lack of offense. As a midfielder, Hall was used to shooting or distributing. So every once in a while, she needs to scratch that itch.
“I miss it too much, so I have to do it sometimes,” she said.
With less than seven minutes to play in the first half, Faith Christian won a penalty kick 40 yards away from goal. Hall let fly and the ball snuck through the goaltender’s hands and into the net to tie the game at one.
After losing communication a second time, the Patriots woke up.
By the end of the game, Faith Christian was no longer huddled in a defensive shell hoping to protect the goal.
Wayne Country Day no longer was in control and at the final whistle, it seemed like more of an escape than a victory for the Chargers.
That’s probably because the Patriots are finally playing to their potential.
“It just stinks that it’s this deep into the season when this finally happens,” Parks said.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or at email@example.com