A view from my side.
With tonight’s win, 4-0, over the last Area team that could have kept us out of the Post Season, we are assured now that we will at least advance to the first round. The team we will most likely play is our cross town rival. For the last 4 years, we have met them in the 2nd Round of the Post Season Tournament and handed them a defeat, eliminating them from the tournament. This year, they have a good chance at returning the favor.
We have played them once already this season and they man handled us, 4-0. They are “senior” flush. Experienced. Fast. Big. Strong. Skilled. We are none of those things. We are loaded with underclassmen. We are inexperienced. We are as slow as molasses. We are small. We are physically weak in comparison to most opponents. Our skill level is not where it should be.
What we are, though, is smart. If our boys play the match we coach them to play, we can beat this team. We will have another shot at them this coming Wednesday. The match is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Whether we win, lose or draw will have no bearing on playing them again May 1. But it will give us an opportunity to test some of the adjustments we’ve made over the last few days.
In our 4-0 win tonight, the adjustments looked good. We tweaked it a little more and it improved. Now, all the boys have to do is “show up” and play. The curse of a young team is inconsistency. Some nights, these boys play their hearts out and have phenomenal success. Other nights, like last Wednesday, they simply fall apart and look hopeless. They do not yet have the experience to know how to push aside the nerves that accompany a “big match.”
It’s ok to be nervous, but experienced players have learned how to channel that into something positive. Our boys are gaining those experiences now. They’ve been in several big matches this season and have won some, the Metro Tournament Trophy, and lost others. This coming Wednesday’s match is one that they could consider a “big match.” I’m hopeful they are able to use the experience they’ve acquired this season to push the nerves aside and play our game. If they do, they will have a good chance to win the match. If they don’t, it will be an extremely long night.
Either way, at this point, we are at least assured of a Post Season match. The right time to peak is not this coming Wednesday. The time to peak is May 1, May 5, May 11 and May 12. Those are the next matches that matter.