A delightful end to a delightful season today against Choate in the rivalry game. The result was 1-1. Perhaps in a few days it will hurt a bit more not to have taken away the win, but the feeling post-game was victorious nonetheless. A fine rival determined to give their best, a terrific performance from our undermanned crew, lovely late-fall weather, and good fan support for both teams added up to a very positive sporting experience. Our girls knew what they were up against versus the perennially strong Choate group (and the same is surely true for Choate) and we had spoken a bit about the fact that our injuries and other absences would not find much sympathy beyond the reach of our roster. It was up to us to figure out, adjust, and prevail. Our great senior leaders who could not play were there to lead and support; Skittles even tried to play early in the second half but agreed she could not help after a few minutes. Pumbaa ran lines and cheered, and even caught the referee’s attention when she ran on the field to celebrate our tying goal. On the pitch Sprite and Abu had huge games feeding our attack and stopping the few Choate forays challenging our defense. The post-game tears and flowers were deep testimony to our seniors and all they have done here for the last few years. Few JV teams enjoy the loyalty we have lately and this group is the reason why. As the game played we enjoyed a general superiority in possession and field position, and Choate’s offense was largely in counter-attacks. They did get their goal late in the first half after a pair of physical errors in our defense let them have a good chance, and the shot was spot-on to the inside of the post if not especially hard-hit. Our response was to keep on doing what we had been doing, and the second half saw continued field possession and a variety of chances. Choate’s keeper had a string of fine stops from all angles until Melman slotted home a good look after a parade of opportunities into the Choate area. The momentum had been ours all along, but this kicked it up even more as the final whistle approached. Several more chances came and went but we were unable to mark the winner. Choate never quit either, even with far fewer chances, and had one scary run up our middle that was finally cleared and repossessed by a long-sprinting Twinkle from her wingback slot. Praise can be handed out liberally after a game like this, but special mention here goes to the middle of our field, Glinda and Melman who played the whole game and dominated the center of the field. Given our missing teammates at that spot this was a huge contribution. Lots of our offense grew from their ranging through that area, winning balls, distributing well, and cracking their own shots relentlessly. In the second half the ownership was almost absolute as Choate sacrificed a player to mark our advanced forward deep up aligned with their sweeper. Finally, a big hug to all the fans who made this a great day. Positive and upbeat support create a culture in which sport is education and growth, not envy and braggadocio. We worked pretty hard, we had plenty of fun, and we learned to achieve better the goals the team game offers, win, lose or draw.