April 14, 2016 8:37 pm
From Head Coach Michael Sopko:
It’s always a special game when you can walk away from me a home field after an overtime win, let alone a double overtime win.
At the beginning of the season I asked our players to make individual goals as well as team goals and I guarantee you that some of the players put on for their goal to beat a big-name program such as a Benedictine, Greenbrier, or Decatur. Today we were able to accomplish this task and also understand that this is something that we can do on a regular basis.
The game started out pretty slow with us quickly going down 3-0. At that point it was necessary to call timeout, regroup, and try to focus on chipping back at the score one goal at a time.
Face off and wing work was key in our efforts to tie the game back at 3 and ultimately take the lead. Huge goals from our offensive players propelled us to be winning at halftime. During half time we mentioned to our players that it would take a four quarter effort to beat a team such as Decatur and that we needed to focus and collectively come together in order to pull out the win.
Our offense did not take the foot off the pedal as we continued to score while our defense helped out with some stops and big clears. At one point in the game we saw one of the best fast breaks that we have run. It was a huge goal and gained momentum for our guys. This game can remind our guys about the importance of momentum and also the importance of support from all of our players, even those who may not participate in games because of our big numbers. Today these guys helped just as much as guys on the field as they supported our players when they came off with good jobs and high fives.
Going into the fourth quarter we had a lead but we knew that it would be tested. Before the fourth-quarter I mentioned that this is why we play the game, for big moments like this, for big players to step up and lead our team. The fourth quarter went back and forth as both teams changed possession. We had a chance to end the game with the ball in our control but ultimately Decatur earned the ball back with less than a minute to go in the game and were able to tie the game forcing us into overtime.
Plain and simple overtime is a golden goal and the first to score wins in a four minute period.
Again our message to the team was that we needed to perform well in this situation because it is a high-pressure situation in which mistakes become escalated so we need to trust in what we’ve learned, trust in our selves, and most importantly trust in our team and we will be successful. With that being said this definitely was the case in overtime as we were able to win both starting faceoffs, our offense was able to possess the ball really well, our defense came up with some big stops, our goalie has earned the reputation as being a force to be reckoned with in overtime, strategy’s of our coaches coupled with the effort of all players, we were victorious.
I will say that this is one of the biggest wins that I’ve ever had as a coach and it may be the biggest win for our program to date.
After the game it was great to see how happy our players were, how excited our fans were, and our wildcat pride chant echoing throughout our campus. Our program only goes forward from here as we look forward to a good practice and then a huge game on Saturday against another division rival in which Dunwoody seeks a two-game winning streak.