Last week we were tested. This week we fell hard. At the end of the game, the scoreboard read Portland 40 and Seattle 0. This was the first regular season loss this program has had in years. How did we get here?
I always love returning to Portland. I have stated several times that no matter where I live, Portland will always be my home. It has a soul to it that is very unique. It was great to see a lot of old friends. There were even old friends from my Corvallis days up in the stands. It’s a great feeling to know so many wonderful people. What people don’t realize is that this merger that occurred between the 2 Portland teams, the Fighting Fillies (my old team), and the Shockwave, has been a long time coming. It was very weird to see some of my old teammates in maroon in black but I’m proud of what they are doing. They played well.
Now, I have played the Shockwave my entire 10 year career. Every time I have played them, it has been a very physical game. I have friends on that team that have played as long as me or even longer. That experience pays off. They are physical and disciplined. In order to beat them, you either need the speed to out run them, or you need to face them head on in a physical grudge match. For me as a player, I thrive in the later. Playing this team always brought the best out of me because I’m a physical player too. I’ve learned to love being challenged in that way.
Our team has faced a lot of adversity this year. The injuries have been ridiculous but we should be getting a couple people back here soon which should really help. The major issue with the injuries has been the people out have the most experience on the team. This means a lot of people who are younger in experience are playing a lot more and in positions that are new to them. This is challenging for any team. However, at some point, you have to move past it discover your identity of who you are as a team in this moment. This game surely exposed that we need to find that identity.
It is very difficult for me not to be on the field, especially during a game like this. I wanted to help my team. But at the same time, even though we lost the 1st regular season game we have in years, I’m wondering if this trial by fire is maybe what we need to progress as a program. We wanted to be challenged more and we knew the division was going to be harder this year, even without the injuries. This is a good thing that it’s getting more competitive. Even the new team in Southern Oregon is proving relevant. This will make the entire division better. I’m not sure the division has gotten the respect it has deserved the last few years. There is some talent in the Northwest that people aren’t aware of. That is partially the reason I write these recaps.
On the defensive side of the ball, we took a step back as far as being disciplined. We were out of position which left huge holes for Rebecca Dawson to run through for the Shockwave. Having played this team many years, I have learned the hard way that you cannot be out of position against them or they will kill you. You need to be patient which is counter intuitive when you are playing an aggressive team. I feel like our defense has learned that lesson and will get back to how they were playing earlier in the year.
At the same time that we weren’t disciplined, there were players stepping up to make plays. April Brown continues to impress me and Mike Forston has really started to turn the corner in her development as a defensive player. Christina Robinson-Bell has natural instincts that are above average for a rookie and she flies in and makes plays out of nowhere at safety.
Offensively, we still struggled mightily in the 1st half. A rookie quarterback plus a veteran laden and aggressive defense makes for a bad combination. Kiki Williams had some tough running. Vanessa Caskey jumped in at quarterback a bit in the 2nd half and we almost started to get a better feel in that half but couldn’t finish a drive. I do believe the fact were able to move the ball more though will help us with momentum for this next game.
We play Tacoma again this weekend and hope to take the lessons we have learned and funnel them into righting the ship. We understand this is essentially a must-win game if we want to retain a chance to pursue the post season. I believe in my team. When you lose a game like this, you have a choice, you either stay down and throw in the towel or you get back up and fight. We will do the later.
Check out this awesome feature about my team in the meantime.