In a short time, I’ve learned that often in these juco soccer contests, the game is decided by the fitness of the student-athletes on the field. Games in the heat, varying playing conditions, varying skill levels, often the only thing teams can control is their fitness levels. However, when a team has no substitutes, fitness only goes so far.
That was the case for the Trailblazer women’s soccer contest on Monday, September 9, as Wabash Valley brought a team to Godfrey with no substitute players other than a backup goaltender. The Wabash Valley Warriors are in their inaugural season of soccer in the NJCAA, fielding a roster entirely made of freshmen.
With six players out with injuries and illnesses that kept them from making the trip to Godfrey, everybody was expected to play the whole game, which is somewhat unreasonable to expect at a the collegiate level. College soccer rules allow for a multitude of substitutions, compared to the professional levels of the sport where substitutes are limited. Most teams at this level make use of those subs, as only some players are fit enough to play soccer competitively for 90 minutes.
I dig into this fact because Wabash Valley, despite their best efforts, simply couldn’t keep up against a more fit, more prepared Lewis & Clark team. After holding off the Trailblazers for the first thirty minutes of gametime, fatigue on a hot September day eventually crept in. Wabash became slow to the ball on defense, giving LC ample time to pick passes and find lanes to the goal. Four Trailblazer goals, two from Payton Corley, one from Candice Parziani, and a goal and two assists from Boitumelo Rabale rounded out the first half scoring.
Towards the end of the first half, two Wabash players missed somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes with injuries. Without them, the Warriors were reduced to only nine players on the field, luckily they returned to action in the second half. Despite the exasperated pleas of the travelling Warrior faithful, the team on the field was dead tired. They attempted to maintain defensive shape, and keep the ball in front of them, to keep the game from getting completely out of hand. Their fans in attendance didn’t quite like that strategy, but it was the right one.
A fifth Lewis and Clark goal scored by Boitumelo Rabale officially put the game out of reach. The Trailblazers looked comfortable for the entire game, but especially the second half, with a depleted Wabash giving them all of the possession of the ball. The last minutes of the game were a training drill more than a competitive contest, as LC played keep-ball and occasionally prodded for a no-longer necessary goal.
The final from Tim Rooney stadium: Lewis And Clark 6 – 0 Wabash Valley College
Tim Rooney’s Lewis and Clark women’s soccer team have rolled to wins in all five of their regular season matches, outscoring opponents 40-1 in that time. Standout Boitumelo Rabale added more goals, and is one of the nation’s top talents on the offensive side of the ball.