SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Typically, when conference play rolls around for any sport, head coaches take endless precautionary measures to keep their players from danger.
But what happens when the team you coach becomes the danger other coaches try to avoid? The Master's College women's soccer team's sixth-year head coach, Curtis Lewis, answered that question on Saturday morning at Reese Field.
"Entering today's match against Hope, we realized that we needed to move forward and continue to be dangerous," said Lewis. "We weren't dangerous against Concordia, and really needed to tighten things up today."
Looking to rebound from Wednesday's humbling 4-1 loss against No. 16 Concordia, the 11th-ranked Lady Mustangs took to the pitch looking to enhance their play with a missing ingredient: danger.
At the end of 90 minutes, the Lady Mustangs produced results that lived up to Lewis' revamped coaching strategy by shutting out Hope International (2-7-3, 0-3-1 GSAC) 2-0, and lifting their 2013 record to 11-1 and 3-1 in GSAC play.
"We looked completely different then how we played on Wednesday at Concordia," commented Lewis. "I honestly feel like this is the first time since we started conference play that we were dangerous."
And while the level of the Lady Mustangs' play was labeled "dangerous" against a floundering Royals team, TMC's efforts on Saturday could also be characterized by what some deem an even more important attribute: consistency.
TMC's offense was anchored by consistent play throughout the match as the squad posted thirteen shots and one goal each half. Katie Farris (Santa Clarita, CA) notched her first goal of the season in unassisted fashion at the 31:46 mark. With 30 minutes left to play in the second half, Jordan Benson (Corona, CA) scored her first goal in conference play off an assist from Devon Goff (Canyon Country, CA), putting the match out of reach at 2-0.
Defensively, the Lady Mustangs' efforts helped post their eighth shutout of the year.
"We needed this," further assessed Lewis. "Now, we need to be this dangerous against the GSAC's top three teams. If we do, we'll continue to get better results."
The Lady Mustangs can't turn down their newfound dangerous intensity any time soon as the squad now faces two of the best teams in the NAIA over the next two weeks: No. 6 Vanguard next Wednesday, and No. 3 Westmont on October 23.
"We have Vanguard and Westmont coming up, and obviously, they're some of the best teams in the nation," said Lewis. "We're going to need to come out with our "A Game", be dangerous with our system, and compete well. If our team plays how I know they can, we can compete with anyone."
Wednesday's road match against an equally dangerous No. 6 Vanguard will begin at 4:30 PM on the campus of Biola University in La Mirada. In order for a victory against Vanguard, TMC needs to focus on tightening their offense, maintaining their intensity, and of course, continuing to be dangerous.