Our 2-0 victory over Central Connecticut on Friday was thrilling; we had a difficult season in 2010 and we needed to find out whether the myriad of changes we had instituted over the past several months were going to pay off in the form of a validating win. The energy and optimism of pre-season manifested themselves in a pretty good performance and the team worked hard and mostly smart, for the win.
Naturally, the players were excited, happy and pleased to start their season in a positive fashion and so was the coaching staff. It is hard and perhaps even a little cruel to insert the somewhat dampening voice of reason after a season-opening win but knowing that we had to face a tough Lehigh team on the road less than 48 hours later meant that the team needed to enjoy the moment but also keep some perspective for the undoubted challenge ahead.
The post-game musings of a coach are a curious thing. In my case, they mostly involve questions like:
- Did we deserve the win today or were we lucky?
- Did I play the right formation and personnel?
- Were we good or was the other team having an off day?
- How are we going to beat our next opponent?
The Lehigh game proved completely different than the first and we had a difficult time in the early stages trying to accomplish many of the things that had worked so well for us two days before. We conceded a goal but, rather than falling prey to our evident fatigue, we steeled ourselves and made a scrappy, determined but ultimately unsuccessful effort to get back into the game.
Like many of my colleagues I am a subscriber to the notion that one shouldn’t get too high when you win or too low when you lose and as we took stock after the weekend we were able to find a lot of positives from both performances while keeping a sense of realism about some areas that need attention.
So, the wraps are off the 2011 season and we know a little bit more about ourselves after two games. There is tremendous spirit and drive in our team and they have earned the right to proceed with a degree of optimism but who we really are and what we are really all about is still yet to be discovered.
One weekend and two results, whether good or bad, do not a season make but they do inspire and stir the competitive soul and we look forward to embracing more defining challenges this weekend.