By Steve Hunt, special contributor for USYouth Soccer.org
Less than 24 hours after they handed Dallas Texans Red a 3-1 loss, the So Cal Blues Lippens hit the pitch again for a match with Hurricane FC 92 Shubert. Just five minutes in, the Blues drew first blood thanks to a goal from Jordan Marada. They withstood a number of chances by the Hurricane and finished with a 1-0 win in the Under-16 Girls division of the U.S. Youth Soccer National League at the Ross Stewart Soccer Center located outside Dallas.
"It was a completely different game (than we played last night)," Blues head coach Martin Lippens said. "That was a completely different team and for some reason, we had a tough time playing against them. They played with an extra center midfielder and we had trouble adjusting to that."
Lippens admitted that fatigue did start to show a bit in this match but was proud of how well his squad fought through it.
"We finally put an extra defender up and that's when we at least evened it out," he said. "I think the girls were starting to get a little tired unfortunately. It was a great fight yesterday and this was our second game in less than 24 hours. I'm proud of the girls. They did awesome and if we can continue like that, I'll take it. Those three points are what counts."
The Blues looked to be headed for another win when in the 67th minute, Shelby Chambers-Garcia, who had two goals in their win on Thursday night, got her second yellow card in 11 minutes and was sent off.
But all losing one of their top offensive threats did was fire the Blues up.
"We actually got a couple of more chances (after she left)," Lippens said. "They realized that we had to put that little extra work into it and they did. We had some nice counterattacks and they almost worked again. It's 1-0 and we'll take the win."
Marada agreed that she and the rest of the Blues found another gear once they were down to 10 players for the final 13 minutes. "She (Chambers-Garcia) is one of our speedy forwards up top and we needed her," she said. "But we knew that we just had to step it up one more notch and finish it off."
The Blues aren't done yet. Tomorrow, they take the field at 11:00 a.m. to face Eclipse Select 91-92 on Field No. 1. Lippens knew that heading into this weekend's games that his team would likely have to win all four of their matches to advance to nationals. He knows that they are now halfway there but that there is still more work to do.
"I'm ecstatic about it," Lippens said. "The girls are doing awesome. Traveling here, playing a tough game yesterday and another tough one today was tough but we're right on track and are doing well."
For Marada, the approach for Saturday's game is fairly simple. "We just need to go in strong into our next game," she said. "We need to keep the mentality we've had. We need to keep up the teamwork, play well as a team and keep going. We just have to play positive, get ready for every game and keep up the good work."
Hurricane FC also plays again tomorrow at 11 a.m. when they face CFC United 16 on Field No. 2.