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Verrado scoring woes continue in 3-0 loss
Submitted by Casey Pritchard on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 12:00am
Lady Vipers look to regroup after difficult non-region slate
Verrado’s girls soccer team had a rough start to the 2016-17 season, but the Lady Vipers still have a shot to qualify for the playoffs.
The team has endured a difficult schedule of non-region games, having played each of the top three teams in the power-points rankings. All those games resulted in losses, as the Lady Vipers are struggling to find the back of the net. The Jan. 6 home contest against No. 1 Scottsdale Arcadia finished 3-0.
“It’s been a tough schedule,” Verrado coach David Hopkinson said. “You play good teams and they capitalize on your mistakes. They’re No. 1 for a reason, they find ways to win games.”
Verrado went down 1-0 in the 25th minute on a penalty kick goal from Arcadia’s Kate Murphy. The PK was awarded because of a hand ball in the box.
“It was hard to argue,” Hopkinson said. “I don’t think it was intentional, her hand was up in the air. I think it could have gone either way, but her hand was in an unnatural position, I think. It’s just one of those bad breaks to start off the game.”
Before giving up the goal, Verrado was taking the play to Arcadia for a majority of the half. The Lady Vipers tried to run a few through balls down the right sideline but Arcadia’s defense snuffed it out.
“They figured it out pretty quickly what we were trying to do, and they did have some good speed,” Hopkinson said. “We have that ability, we just have had so much trouble, for whatever reason, putting the ball in the back of the net. I think we’ve got the talent and the players to do it, I just haven’t figured out the combination to make that happen.”
After the first goal was scored, Verrado lacked the same intensity it showed early in the game, causing Hopkinson to get fired up on the sideline.
“I was just frustrated with the effort in the first half; there was no emotion, no energy,” Hopkinson said. “So, I wasn’t upset with a player, I was more upset with the girls, they weren’t communicating. I thought we had time to turn and we could have gone forward and attacked, and we kept laying it back, which is fine sometimes, but we had the opportunity to go forward and I didn’t think there was any urgency.
“Unfortunately, in soccer, you can’t call timeouts to rally them, so sometimes to build energy, you have to kind of be a crazy person out there. I was trying to build up the energy and urgency, get them fired up somehow.”
Verrado gave up two more goals in the second half, and failed to score itself. It was the fifth shutout loss for the Lady Vipers this year.
“A lot of our games this year, we’ve been shutout, so we give up a goal and it’s like, OK, here we go again,” Hopkinson said. “We just need to figure out some way to put the ball in the back of the net, and we just haven’t done that yet. I thought it was a very winnable game for us.”
Despite a 1-6 power-points record — the Lady Vipers are 2-7-1 overall — Verrado still has a chance to make the 5A state playoffs through the Desert West Region. The winner of the region gets an automatic bid into the state tournament. Verrado’s first region game is at 6 p.m. today when it hosts Glendale Deer Valley.
“It’s keeping the girls confident at this stage, and knowing we’re really close to cracking it, we just need to find it,” Hopkinson said. “It’s tough when you’re playing these tremendous opponents, they don’t have a ton of weaknesses, it’s hard to find those moments. I think it’s just building up confidence, trying to score a couple goals. We just have to do a little bit better job offensively and defensively, and I’ve got to figure out how we can put the ball in the back of the net. So, that kind of falls on me a little bit, too, over these next two weeks.”
Casey Pritchard can be reached at email@example.com
or on Twitter @CaseyonSports.
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