Falcons season off to a slow start after loss of key defender

January 28, 2020 — by Shama Gupta and Esther Luan

After a 2-2-2 preseason, girls soccer coach Ben Maxwell has tried to bolster their defense for the league season. 

So far, this emphasis hasn’t resulted in more wins.

As of Jan. 27,  the Falcons are 0-5 in league play and hold an overall record of 2-7-2. 

Their biggest challenge this season has been taking shots on goal and making those shots. Since the Falcons are strong in keeping possession of the ball, they hope that will help them in their upcoming game at Los Gatos on Feb. 1. 

The team’s recent loss of a key player was starting center back Emma Foley, a sophomore whose absence has been tough obstacle to overcome.

Foley tore her ACL and meniscus during the team’s home game against Los Gatos on Dec. 5, where they lost 3-0, most likely taking her out for the rest of the season. Her injury has had a big impact on the team’s strategy, which centered around having the center backs attack more, said captain and senior goalie Adrienne Chan.

“Having center backs attack helps the team break the first line of pressure and helps us possess the ball higher on the field,” Chan said. “It hasn’t been quite as effective since Emma’s been out.”

Thus far, one season highlight was their game against the Palo Alto Vikings on Jan. 15. hey ended up losing 3-0, giving up two late goals in the match, but knowing they had a good chance to win or tie until the waning minutes.

“They were better than we expected and were able to pass the ball through our high pressing midfield with relative ease,” said Chan. “We didn’t get many chances on the offensive, so we had to work extra hard on the defensive side to close down their attacks.”

The Falcons’ struggling on offense has become a recurring theme. The team has only scored four goals all season and almost all of their losses have come in games where they failed to reach the back of the net at all.

The reason for this drought in goals is because of the adjustments the team has had to make due to injuries. With junior forward Leila Chaudhry, who has been a critical playmaker on the team, out on a torn ACL and meniscus, the team has had to adjust their build-up style since last season, senior captain and forward Ananya Krishnan said. 

“It’s been hard for us to score because we’re playing more defensively now and two of our attacking players from last year now play center back,” Krishnan said.

As Foley is also out for the season, another offensive player — sophomore Casey Gilligan has had to take her spot as center back. When the team does get the chance to attack, they don’t have enough numbers coming up the field with the play as needed, and generally don’t take the risk of shooting the ball. 

In the final weeks of the season, the Falcons’ defense gives them hope to get a victory. “We are ready to train and work to play the best that we can for these upcoming games,” Chan said.

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