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Sports exploits of the amazing Steadman children.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Torpedoes Bite Green Snakes 3-0 In First Round of Playoffs

Dateline: November 7, 2009.  Torpedoes F.C. regained their offensive momentum this afternoon, shutting out Green Snakes to advance to the semifinals of the Group Three U10 Womens AYSO Bracket this afternoon on a powerful offensive set and hammering defensive play.

Green Snakes had earlier defeated Firebolts F.C. in a play-in match to earn the right to face Torpedoes.  Torpedoes, although seeded number 1, came into the tournament on something of an offensive slide and needing a rally to get to their former solid play.  "We need a boost," admitted fullback Sarah "Go-San" Steadman.  "But I like our chances here."

On a resplendent Chicago November day, with 65 degree sunshine and a dry pitch, the crowd was at fever pitch from the beginning.  "Goooooooo Toooorrpeeeeedooooes" was the howling refrain just before kickoff. This was the first month in over six weeks for the Torpedoes not played in mud and cold, and the women looked ready to play their hearts out.

The first half featured excellent defensive play for the Torpedoes.  The ball got into the Torpedoes' end only three times and goalie Emma Nikolai never even touched ball.  Fullbacks Steadman and Kelsey Burress refused to let the ball across the midline.  Despite keeping the ball in the Snakes' end for nearly  90 percent of the time, however, Torpedoes failed to score in the first half due to outstanding goalie play by Snakes' number 7, who repeatedly charged the offsensive attack to steal the ball and run it away.

Over halftime, Coach David Nikolai emphasized the attack, urging his players to finish shots and get the ball behind the Snakes' defense.

In the third quarter, forward Katie Bodlak finally got the ball behind the goalie on a loose ball, following a shot by Lauren Flowers, dribbling the ball past the goalie and in for the Torpedoes' first goal.  The players celebrated briefly, then settled in to defend their 1-0 lead.

Shortly thereafter, center Braley Failor netted a hard goal past the Snakes' goalie for their second goal.

During the third quarter break, Burress' mother lobbied for an alignment shakeup.  "Did she say she didn't want to play offense?  Because she should be playing some forward in this game."  Coach Nikolai responded, moving Burress to forward.  "Nooooooooo!" cried Burress in response.  Meanwhile, center-forward Helen Laboe was tired, and lobbied to be put in the backfield.  So Coach Nikolai switched goalie Emma Nikolai and Laboe, moving Nikolia to center and Laboe to goal.

The new alignment worked perfectly.  Midway through the fourth period, forward Lauren Flowers hammered in a hard goal with strong kick in traffic off a beautiful passing assist from Emma Nikolai.

The Torpedoes won, 3-0, their goalies combining to stop only three shots from the Snakes all match.

Next up, a game under the lights at 7pm at Elmwood Park High School, against F.C. Flaming Tacos for the right to play in the Championship.

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