SAISA Girls Soccer Tournament
The Varsity Girls Soccer team recently participated in the SAISA tournament held at the American International School Dhaka (AISD). It was an amazing tournament and literally one goal separated the top five teams in the tournament during round robin play. Although the TAISM girls were unable to improve on their 3rd place SAISA finish from last year, they were able to improve as a team and compete at a high level in one of the most closely contested SAISA girls soccer tournaments in history. The girls could walk away with their heads held high because they knew they played their best. Had one or two of their shots been a few inches to the left or right, they would have been in the finals.
Our participation numbers were excellent this year and we had 20 girls practicing on a regular basis. In the regular season, the team found good competition against the British School Muscat. We each won a game and tied the third. TAISM participated with a full team of sixteen players at the SAISA tournament.
On their first day of the tournament, the girls faced the American School of Bombay (ASB) and then Lincoln School from Nepal. They lost by a narrow 2-1 margin in their first game. ASB snuck in a couple of lucky goals in the first half, against the run of play. The TAISM girls were pressuring their goal far more all game, but we couldn’t put one in the net until Tania Olier’s shot was bobbled by the ASB goalkeeper, and Hannah Turner followed the shot and scored TAISM’s first goal of the weekend. Time ran out as the girls continued to pressure the ASB goal. Facing a strong Lincoln School in the afternoon, the girls played an outstanding game, but came up short and lost 0-1. Vanessza Fentor served up a nice corner kick to Tania Olier, whose header went wide left. Then we had two more headers by America Avalos and Serena Lee that forced amazing goal line saves by the Lincoln School goalkeeper. Our tough defense led by Catarina Aleixo, and Elsa Buck in goal was tough to break through, and they only conceded one goal with a quality cross from Lincoln School and a collision with Elsa.
On the second day we played the Overseas School of Colombo, and it was a must win to advance in the tournament. Tania Olier scored first with some brilliant work from Dinar Sukanto to set it up. However, later in the game the Geckos equalized on a very nicely taken free kick just outside the box. Game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The next game on day two was against the Chennai Raptors. The girls emerged victorious with a score 5-1. Here is the scoring summary:
1- Elsa assists America’s goal
2- Elsa assists Tania’s first
3- Serena assists Dinar’s goal
4- Serena assists Tania’s second
5- Vanessza strikes in the closing seconds
The focus shifted later in the day, as we felt tremors from the Nepal earthquake. News traveled fast, and soon the entire school was evacuated and standing on the soccer pitch. The girls from the Kathmandu team were struggling as they attempted to get in touch with their families back in Nepal. Finally, they were all assured that their families were safe, and the tournament continued.
On the final day, we faced the host school and defending champions, AISD. It was the finest played game of the tournament according to many observers; a hard-fought, tense battle of wills with many scoring chances for both sides that ended in a 0-0 tie. The top 5 teams were so close in their records that AISD went into the game vs. TAISM, not knowing whether they would end up in the 1 v 2, 3 v 4, or 5 v 6 game. Our tie with them forced them into the 3 v 4, and forced us into the 5 v 6 game. One goal in that game would have changed the entire table.
Our final game was against Chennai as we won 5-0. It was also five of our seniors final game : Dinar, Tania, Vanessza, Maddie & Catarina.
The scoring summary is as follows:
1- Tania assists America’s goal
2- Serena assists Vanessza’s goal
3- Tania assists Catarina’s goal
4- Arielle assists Tania’s goal
5- Vanessza assists Arielle’s goal
Overall, the TAISM team finished 5th in the tournament. Coach Brink and I felt that our players gave everything they had and more, and as coaches we hope that they can tap into the kind of effort they displayed as they move through future challenges on and off the field. Well done, Eagles…you are true champions!
Dan Everett, ES Counselor & Varsity Girls Soccer Team Coach