What a beautiful fall we have seen! Almost every game day has been a great day for soccer, and even as the season is finally turning colder, windier, we are enjoying extraordinary conditions for the games. We really have no idea yet if this team is a mudder, or a snow team, or a rainy-day group. Well, we just let the good times roll, and that was the case again today. After last week’s notable step-up for the second half against Taft and a free date Wednesday we were quite aware we were hosting one of the top teams we would see this year. Andover is always willing, tough, and they play fast and look to strike quickly. We know that our schedule includes some tough teams, some that are a good bit easier for us to handle, too, and the back and forth is a challenge. It is easy to make bad habits when you have the other team over-matched, and those habits can kill you against the top teams. Today we wanted a start-to-finish effort in both intensity and intelligence, and we were pretty close when the final whistle blew. We had a few of our beloved injured back to root us on (great to see you, Pumbaa and Shark Bait!) and in front of us we had a brave, fearless, and successful Andover group. The game had strong early runs by both teams and our goalkeepers had to contribute today. Wall-E lived up to her nickname a couple of times coming out fast to defuse good Andover through-balls before our back line figured out the cure with better timing on the drop. Eventually Skittles had one of her moments and burst through to open the scoring, leaving five or six Andover players in her wake. Yet the game stayed close, well contested and our slight field superiority did not yield further goals until the final minute of the half when a foul left Skittles looking at a free kick from 20, pretty central. Making it look simple, she hooked the ball over the wall into the far upper corner. Our halftime conversation included some babble from Olé before the captains reignited the fire with the annual distribution of nickname iconography, and the second half once more saw a DA buzzsaw. We had played well through the first half against a fine opponent, but the second half was, after a slow few minutes, a clinic of Green. Wing play got to the front line and delivered cross after cross, the through ball was on, and on, and on, and inexorably the Blue crew yielded goals, in spite of their great spirit and determination. I am not quite sure of all the scorers finally (Razzle, for sure, Melman, too had a corner that may have officially been an own goal), but the play was fast, varied and, as we had hoped, sustained for long times. Credit everywhere today, of course, but a special nod to the keepers, to Clifford and Sprite for figuring out the solution to the Andover attack, and all our flanks who kept our level high throughout (Simba, Bambi, Jenga, Squidward for a bit, and Melman, too). We called Coach Loftus right after the game to share the news of our best win to date, and we will get back to hard work on Monday planning to get better yet.