The Rogers High girls soccer team has one overriding question as the Rams enter their second week of the 2016 season after falling to both Olympia and rival Puyallup.
Can it buy a shot on goal ... just one?
With a trio of talented players in in Haleigh Thompson, Bailey Tompkins and Bekah Barkley, the offense’s first-week blues is a strange occurrence. Especially when the Rams have shown the ability to match their opponent’s level of play in all levels but the final third of the pitch.
“I think we need to get more shots during the game,” Barkley said. “We just need to keep our head up and take more shots next game.”
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I think we need to get more shots during the game. We just need to keep our head up and take more shots next game.
After opening the season with a 2-0 loss to Olympia where the Rams seemingly couldn’t find any chances, the team followed it with a hard-fought loss to Puyallup where it could only muster a single shot on goal.
Both losses were tough to swallow, but the one to Puyallup (2-0-1), the co-defending SPSL champions, was even tougher because Rogers had the chances to put the ball in the back of the net, but couldn’t get past the Vikings’ defensive back.
“In the end, the final third, we’ve got to get our shots off,” coach J.R. Farias said. “It was the same (against Olympia) — we’d make a run, and then get into the final third, (and) we’re kind of off that on last touch or to play that final through-ball in.”
“We’re going to continue to work on that.”
It won’t get any easier for the Rams in their second week as Rogers travels to Bellarmine Prep (0-1), then plays South Hill rival Emerald Ridge (1-2) on Thursday (Sept. 15). The Rams close out their stretch of playoff opponents Sept. 20 when they travel to co-league champion Curtis (1-1-1).
It’s a rough stretch of games for Rogers, which will have played four out of five games against playoffs team from last year, with Olympia (3-0) being the only exception, but this year’s Bears team is expected to compete for a playoff spot with new head coach Tamara Liska at the helm.
But there’s still hope for the Rams going forward, as the talent is there to compete with the best of the SPSL. They just need to capitalize on their scoring chances.
“Our passing is good, but I think we need to win the ball out of the air a little bit better,” said Barkley on Rogers’ lack of height when it comes to winning 50-50 balls in the air. “We’re a pretty small team, but if we can win the second ball, we’ll be fine.”
Even with their slow start and a difficult schedule going forward, there’s still an air of confidence in the Rams’ locker room. They’re not going to back down from the competition. It’s a belief that the dam is starting to swell before it bursts.
“We’re going to be one of the top teams in this league. We just need to get into our groove,” Haleigh Thompson said.
And if the team comes together at right time, there’s no telling what Rogers can do this season.
I think we’re doing everything right (right now), we’re just unlucky. We just need to get a goal and then we’ll start going from there. Get one and then start winning.
“I think we’re doing everything right (right now), we’re just unlucky,” Thompson added. “We just need to get a goal and then we’ll start going from there. Get one and then start winning.”
Maybe all it will take is that one goal, or maybe it will take more than that for the Rams to get their season kicked into high gear. Despite having few chances so far, Rogers isn’t panicking yet, as it’s only been two games.
And maybe that’s the best takeaway the Rams can have after a rough first week.
“It’s just been a tough start,” Thompson said. “But we have confidence in each other.”