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Mercer Island beats Interlake with free-kick goal | Prep soccer
If it hadn't been for a free kick on the edge of the goal box two minutes into the game, the match between Mercer Island and Interlake would have probably been much different.
Tuesday night, the Islanders took on the Saints, winning the game 1-0 to improve their season to 2-3 overall.
The goal was scored by Celina Solomon, and forced Interlake to play catch up the rest of the night. For Mercer Island, the game showed their recent improvements and how much gelling the team has done together.
"We're playing so much better now," said head coach Nicole Nelson after the Islanders faced some what of a rocky start. "The girls are really getting comfortable with their positions and each other. That's a good team we played."
After the goal, both sides were physically matched for the ball, with short bursts of speed downfield for chances which never materialized.
"I think our big focus was getting 50/50 balls and being aggressive," Nelson said of what has made the difference in Tuesday's and other recent games. "That's all it was. We were just being a little tentative and not going out and winning things. As soon as you win 50/50 balls, it turns everything around. We have great individual players, I think it's just taken us a little bit longer than we wanted it."
It was Interlake's first loss of the season, but Saints head coach Jeff McCabe said they knew going into the match it would be tough.
"They lost a lot of girls, but they are always a really tough, physical, hard working group so we knew we were up against a good opponent," said McCabe. "I think we just kind of expected what we normally expect from Mercer Island, a strong, hard working group, even though they lost a couple of weapons, they always find a way to bring girls back in."
Nelson said looking ahead a continued physical game is going to be a necessity, especially against team's like Bellevue.
"We're going to need to be physical and be aggressive and win the ball," said the coach of upcoming games. "I think if we don't do that it's going to be a long night. If we do that, we'll be able to take that team. That's all it comes down to."
The Islanders will host Bellevue in a Saturday evening match, Sept. 25 starting at 7:30 p.m.