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Sports exploits of the amazing Steadman children.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Inferno Scalds Penguins: Hangover from last week's win results in tough loss.

Dateline: October 11, 2008, Maple South Field. The St. Giles Cup went to the Inferno Football Club this morning on the hostile pitch of Maple South. FC Penguins played a tight match for three quarters but simply could not keep up with the Inferno's offensive firepower.

In the first quarter, the Penguins fielded Maura Reilly in goal, Audrey Madura and Jackie McShan in a powerful backfield, and Sarah "Roku" Steadman, Adela Duewel and Taylor Leibig upfield. The play on the rough and uneven pitch of Maple South Field was mostly in the Penguins' end. When the Penguins did get it upfield, the Inferno's excellent goalie Maggie VanEhrman blocked every attempt to get near the goal. Steadman was injured again in the first quarter and replaced by Andie Corsino. Jada Harris of the Inferno scored a solid goal on Reilly, and the quarter ended 1-0.

The Penguins mixed up the lineup in the second quarter, with Reilly in goal, Madura and Lauren Atchley in the backfield, and McShan, Leibig, and Corsino at the forward positions. Inferno's Jada Harris scored a second, quick goal off a good pass by a teammate. Then Reilly blocked a shot, and the Penguins rallied. McShan took a pass from Corsino and made a shot on Inferno's goal, which was blocked out by VanEhrman. McShan took the return and shot again, but was blocked out again. McShan then crashed the goal making a third hard shot which VanEhrman could not handle, scoring McShan her first goal of the year with excellent, aggressive play. Madura had her own shot on goal later in the quarter. The half ended with both teams digging in, Inferno 2 - Penguins 1.

Atchley took the Penguins' goal in the third quarter, with Steadman and Madura in backfield and McShan, Corsino and Duewel in the forward positions. Madura had another shot on goal before being injured and replaced by Leibig. McShan, clearly frustrated, then put on a clinic of solo offensive play. Three times she took the ball down to the Inferno's end and hammered the ball at the Inferno's new goalie Harris. Each time she chased her own shot, and twice she tried to kick the ball right out of Harris' hands. It was the most aggressive play the Penguins have shown this season. Alas, Harris was just up to it,, and kept the ball out of the Inferno's net. Duewel showed improved play again this week, making a steal and twice clearing the ball from the Penguins' end. VanEhrman, playing forward, managed a third Inferno goal on Atchley and the match was now 3-1 in favor of the firebugs, but still within reach of another rally by the Penguins' strong offense.

In the fourth quarter, the Penguins finally tired and simply lost their hold on the match. Atchley, playing goal, did her best and Leibig and Madura made heroic efforts to get the ball upfield, but the Penguins simply could not stop the Inferno's repeated shots on their end and the red jerseys ended up with three goals in the fourth. The match ended 6-1 against the Penguins on a grey morning in Oak Park.

Coach Reilly saw a bright side for his team. "Our girls showed a lot of heart today. They battled and battled and battled, but luck simply was not with us today." The referee, a professional footballer from England, agreed. "I have never seen a team play so hard and not score a goal," he told the Penguins. Coach Steadman was effusive about the Inferno. "I tip my hat to them. They beat us today. But I think the worst of it was our girls were just exhausted from kicking seven goals last week. We will bounce back."

Tears streaming down her face, Roku Steadman told Coach Steadman "It was an important match, and we failed." With a long hug, Coach Steadman replied, "we learn as much from losing a match at this level as we do from winning. We didn't fail at all. You girls played hard, and worked
together, and never gave up. Let's take the lessons the Inferno taught us today, and bring them back next week against some other team."

Fans Nancy Leibig and Kathy McGrath were less forgiving of the venue and Coach Steadman's inter-week activities. "This pitch stinks," said Leibig. "It is literally angled against us. Did you see that huge hole our goal was in during the second half? All you have to do is give a sharp kick downhill from the midline to score a goal! I'm going home to complain to the league commish." Penguin Team Grandmother McGrath was even harsher. "I heard Coach Steadman spent all week in Europe, trying to sign the Penguins up to compete in 2009 Mens European Cup Championship Play. What kind of idiot is he? Everyone knows that first you have to win the Under-8 Girls' League here in Oak Park, then you worry about international play. He had better get his priorities straight before I show him my best football kick to his 'ead!"

After the match, the St. Giles players of both teams were more conciliatory than the fans, lining up for a two-team, all-St. Giles photo. Photos of the match can be found here.

St. Giles Women at peace after a long hard battle;
FC Penguins in white and Inferno Football Club in red.

For her work in the second and third quarters, McShan was named AP Player of the game. Coach Steadman was last seen drowning his sorrows in a local pub, pledging to do whatever homework it takes to bring home a win for the Penguins' loyal fans next week. The Penguins' chance for redemption comes at 11am on October 18 at their favorite pitch, Holmes Field.

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