WAGS Tournament: Freestate adjusts to lack of practice time
By Jimmy LaRoue
Freestate United coach Shannon Cirovski had a challenge facing a number of her coaches this weekend–how to take a team that seldom practices together due to the players’ high school season and blend them into a cohesive unit.
For Freestate, it took a half, but led by two goals from Under-17 women’s national team player Midge Purce, along with goals from Danielle Hogarth and Sheridan Street, it pulled away for a 4-0 win Saturday over Rage FC of eastern Pennsylvania in the Under-17 Showcase I bracket of the 37th Annual WAGS Rael Vodicka Memorial Tournament.
“I think we forgot what offsides was when we were playing in our high school arenas,” Cirovski said. “We talked [at halftime] about being composed in front of the net, focusing on the shots, focusing on the crosses, focusing on the runs while we’re getting crosses off, that type of thing, and just being more composed and getting more numbers forward.”
In other words, they responded to their coach’s message.
Currently, Freestate practices just once a week and will increase that to twice a week once high school season is over in November and begins more tournament play at the Bethesda Thanksgiving Tournament, the CASL Girls’ College Showcase and the Disney Showcase before heading in earnest into the Elite Clubs National League season in mid-December.
“That’s challenging,” Cirovski said. “You saw in the first 40 minutes, we weren’t clicking. We weren’t reading each other and attacking with numbers because they’re used to doing a lot of things by themselves when it comes to their high school teams.”
She expects key contributions from the stalwart Purce, as well as from attacking players such as Imani Dorsey and Casey Martinez, as well as Danielle Hogarth and Delaney Reiff, and midfielder Jordyn Brock. She praised the play of Courtney Parr also.
Cirovski expects a challenge Sunday with temperatures expected to drop into the low 50s and rain in the forecast.
“On this surface, it’s going to be key to keep the ball in front of us,” Cirovski said. “It’s just going to slide once it hits the ground and we can’t have a lot of these balls that were bouncing today because it’ll hurt us tomorrow.”