The team will play in the Semi-Final on Tuesday next week - tentatively scheduled for 4 pm at Twin Creeks Sports Complex Field #9 in Sunnyvale.
The GISSV Eagles - last year's Champions - faced their toughest competition this season versus Hausner (tie, 3-3) and Armstrong (win, 3-2). They will likely face Armstrong again in the Semi-final and, hopefully, Hausner in the Final on Thursday.
With a big squad consisting of club-level players, fifteen 7th and 8th graders, and a deep roster of younger talent, Coach Rolufs believes this year's team has the potential to be the strongest middle school team GISSV has fielded, "But I'm still waiting for it to show its full potential," he says. "There's been inconsistent participation in practices and games, and we've been held back by the league "mercy rule", so we have yet to see the team use all its resources and work together as a cohesive unit," says Coach Rolufs. "If more of the boys approach the playoffs with commitment and don't assume they can get by on individual talent alone, they can really demonstrate the strength of a truly mature team."
The Eagles' biggest rival, Hausner (6-0-1), took 2nd place last year behind GISSV after an exciting shoot-out, but they defeated Armstrong 6-0 this week and show strong team play. "I went to watch Hausner play Armstrong and, although Armstrong has two fast, aggressive players, it was Hausner's overall passing and movement that impressed me and allowed them to dominate the game," say Coach Rolufs. "If we meet them in the Final, our challenge will be to maintain ball possession, generate rapid attacks, prevent Hausner from getting the ball to their strongest player (#27), and run a compact, aggressive defense." Coach Rolufs is confident his team can show up ready to play its best games in the playoffs, but years of coaching remind him to approach big games with cautious optimism. "We had the undefeated team in 2015 and had beaten Hausner in the regular season, but went on to lose against them in the Championship, 3-1. Many of this year's players will also remember losing to Hausner in the semi-final in 2017 even after we had defeated them in the regular season. It's been back and forth between Hausner and GISSV for years, and this year Hausner wants the Championship trophy back. We can not get complacent!"
It sounds like we're in for exciting Middle Soccer playoff games next week!
Come out and support the team!