May 1, 2008

DeSmet 8 - Chaminade 5

The Red Devils again could not put together a 28 minute game as DeSmet tallied 5 goals in the 4th quarter (the most goals scored against in a single quarter) for 3 consecutive victories this season against Chaminade. Tied 3-3 going into the 4th after three great quarters, I was confident in the team’s ability to prevent the Spartans from scoring without the aid of the bottom of the pool, and it worked for the first 3 minutes of the quarter. With 4:36 remaining, CCP’s Junior 2M guard Chris Duncan got an ejection on the perimeter and the wheels started to come off. I made the mistake of telling Peter Hoette to leave a man in the middle, which resulted in a Spartan goal and a 4-3 lead.

On the very next position, the Spartan’s Danny Holtgrewe notched his third goal of the game on a cross-goal pass with CCP’s Jake Entwistle holding his arm. The pass had to be perfect (and it was) and Danny had to be strong enough to shoot with Jake on him (and he was). It’s tough to stop something like that.

The Red Devils were looking really down at this point, and I was losing my cool (sorry about that, I guess I just wanted to win pretty badly), but we didn’t give up (yet). Two possessions after Holtgrewe’s third goal, Junior Chris Watkins broke out of his shell and notched his second goal off a foul outside 5M. Clearly, this game was Chris’ coming out party as he played his best game of the year finally finding the offensive aggressiveness I knew he had. As Jack Benage said to me: “Chris is better than he thinks he is”.

We were back within one with three minutes remaining, but we were either too physically overmatched or mentally beaten down to overcome the deficit. DeSmet kept after the Red Devils with relentless countering and back door drives and notched two more goals on consecutive possession to put away the Red Devils. Down three, Junior Jack Meara didn’t give up and was a one-man wrecking crew getting possession of the ball deep in front of the cage, got a hard shot off, went after the rebound and forced DeSmet’s goalie to take the ball under, resulting in a Chaminade 5M attempt, which Jack Benage buried. Jack and Jack’s efforts were too late as the Spartans still led by 2 with less than two minutes remaining. A late Benage kickout and a DeSmet 6-on-5 goal capped the scoring.

The story, as I see it, is an old cliché: they wanted to win more than we did. We played a solid 24 minutes; the Spartans played a full 28. The biggest compliment I can pay DeSmet is they never faltered, never quit. They kept coming at us with a relentless and invincible attitude that we usually bring to every game. Luckily, this wasn’t districts and we will get a chance at redemption. Now we need to focus on Ladue on Saturday.

Things that went right (during the first 24 minutes):

  • Offensive aggressiveness – we countered hard and took a lot of high quality shots off of ball side drives. Kubik and Benage had a lot of fast-break opportunities. Arnold and Meara had good chances in the hole. The opportunities were there, and you don’t get opportunities like that without doing a lot of things right.
  • Anticipation – our best game of the year from an anticipation standpoint. I don’t recall any DeSmet player getting a fast break in the first 24 minutes. I don’t even recall a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2. We hustled back to defense. We also left early for offense when the clock ran down (see: offensive aggressiveness). Kubik, Benage, Arnold, Meara and Watkins were all anticipating and were hungry for goals. I loved the killer instinct.
  • 6-on-5 – 1 for 2. Kubik’s pass to Meara was perfect.
  • 5M shots – I guess “5M Survivor” is working

Things that went not so right;

  • COMMUNICATION – maybe it’s a product of my talking the whole game, but I stopped counting the number of times our guys would switch on defense and didn’t call it out. I also stopped counting the number of times we didn’t call for help when we got beat on defense. I only have 10 fingers and 10 toes.
  • Shooting – sometimes you shoot well and sometimes you don’t and sometimes you score 5 goals on 27 shots for the lowest shooting percentage of the year (18%). For those parents wondering, you aren’t supposed to throw the ball at the goalie’s hands. Looking back, with the number and quality of our shots in the first and third quarter, we were two or three near-side-lows from blowing them out (i.e. a 3-3 game after three could have easily been 6-3 or 7-3).
  • Defensive break downs and learning from mistakes – goes hand-in-hand with communication. If you know a team is going to try to go back door on you, it might be a good idea to not let the weak side wing get open.
  • Too many kickouts – dropping your hips and over-committing against good players will result in a season high in kickouts (we also got 4 kickouts in our loss to Marquette…don’t think there isn’t a correlation between kickouts and losing).

Goals: Watkins – 2, Benage – 1, Kubik – 1, Meara – 1
Assists: Stable r – 2, Kubik – 1
Steals: Stabler – 4, Arnold – 3, Entwistle – 3, Benage – 2, Duncan – 2, Meara – 2, Faust – 1, Kubik – 1
Kickouts: Benage – 2, Duncan – 1, Meara – 1
Saves: Stabler – 7

Player of the Game: Watkins – 2 goals on 2 shots in a “coming out party”. Add him to the list of guys on our team who makes things happen.

Up Next: 7:00 PM Saturday May 3rd v. Ladue at Ladue.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Chris Watkins really did have a spectacular game. I was ecstatic when he netted that shot off the foul from outside the 5m. I was yelling, "Shoot it! Shoot it!" He placed it perfectly without hesitation in the upper-right corner. I hope he'll continue to bring the aggressiveness to the games ahead- we'll need him!

On a side note: Congratulations to Blake on Athlete of the Week! I think it is well-deserved and it's great for Water Polo to get some coverage by the press!