Jameson Hurley Reporting
September 27, 2015
Coming off two decisive victories in week 1, the Ports’ vulnerabilities were exposed as both the Leesiders and the Blue Notes handed resounding defeats to Captain Rauer’s squad. Meanwhile, the Blue Notes marked an historic day in the Nashville GAC, taking victory in both of their matches and thus claiming a seat at the top the table. The Leesiders, who went winless in the opening week, found their stride in the first match of the day against a lackluster Ports side, and were it not for a very close loss to the Blue Notes, the red side would have found themselves level in the league standings with both shades of blue. As it stands though, 3 points separate each team from each other. So how did it all come to pass?
Match 1: Leesiders vs. Ports
Readied for the day, with marching orders in had, Brendan Rauer’s Ports took to the pitch full of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm was quickly drained in the opening minutes as the Leesiders’ attack proved too much for the Ports. With two punishing goals coming from magnificent strikes for Officer David “Hightower” Smith, the feeble Ports fell back on their heels. Despite many attempts from Johnny Watson, Nick Chamberlain, and Sam D’Amico, the Ports were unable to put a point over the bar. It was Chamberlain who finally brought hope, placing a long range shot clear for a point, to which Watson, recalling Chris Davis’ remark from the week prior said, “We’re on the board.” Errors on both sides kept the match tight, but at the half-time whistle those two early goals from Smith separated the sides.
The deficit, combined with first half injuries sustained by D’Amico and last week’s player of the week Brian Goodwin, forced Captain Rauer to move himself out of goal and up to full-forward. Watson fell into a midfield position and partnered with Chamberlain, but the fitness and scoring ability of Corbett Ouellette, Chris Davis, and Officer Smith proved to be too much for the duo. Watson was able to sneak in a goal, but two more by “Hightower” proved to be too big an obstacle for the Ports to overcome. Final score: Leesiders 5-2 (17) v Ports 3-3 (12).
Match 2: Ports vs. Blue Notes
After the break, the Ports headed back onto the pitch to face Ashley “Smashley” Tabolinsky’s Blue Notes. The Notes were champing at the bit and eager to face-off against the side that handed them such a decisive defeat one week prior. The Ports, looking to rebound from the earlier loss, hoped to turn things around quickly, but the injury-plagued side struggled right from the first whistle.
The Blue Notes were quick to get onto the board with a couple of rapid points and a goal, while the Ports continued to strike the ball wide or directly into the sure hands of the Blue Notes’ agile goalkeeper, Ryan Buckley. And while a couple scores did eventually come from the Ports, it was the solid defensive play of Tabolinsky and Cody Murdock who held the score low. Halftime could not have come sooner for the dark blue side, who hobbled off the pitch when the referee’s whistle blew.
Down 2 goals at the start of the second half, the Ports needed to tally some scores, and knowing that Buckley would keep a tight watch on the net, they took their points, adding a few quick ticks to the referee’s notebook. But at the other end of the pitch, the Blue Notes employed an all-together different strategy, taking full advantage of the Ports’ injured keeper to net two more goals, and thus offsetting any forward progress made by the Ports. The sides battled on, but the weary and bedraggled Ports simply could not keep up. Final score: Ports 1-6 (9) v. Blue Notes 4-4 (16)
Match 3: Blue Notes vs. Leesiders
In a repeat of the thriller played by these two sides in week 1, the third match proved to be the best and most exciting of the day. A tired Leesider side dug deep, and pulled out enough energy to give the Blue Notes a worthy challenge.
In a bold move, the Blue Notes pulled their trustworthy keeper out of goal, positioning him at the full forward line. But fear not! This did not leave the Notes exposed at net, as spectators were treated to some incredible saves on both ends of the pitch. As the battle raged back and forth, it was clear that this would be a tight game all the way to the finish.
Newcomer Alex Pinkston displayed remarkable, speedy growth when he scored a point only an hour after he learned to play the game of hurling. His efforts, coupled with decisive defensive work by Cody Murdock kept the Notes in the lead for most of the match. Despite the hard work from Baker, Smith, and Baxter, the Leesiders’ attack would fall just short. In the end, that bold move of playing Buckley forward would give the Notes their historic day as his two points would be all that separated the sides when the final whistle blew. Blue Notes 1-6 (9) v Leesiders 1-4 (7)
Player of the Week:
Having played strong, tactical offense all day, netting total of 5 goals, Officer David “Hightower” Smith was named player of the week. Just off playing his last match of the season before heading off to weekend patrol duties, Smith said of the honor, “It’s a real honor to be chosen player of the week, thanks to everyone who voted for me. My season was unfortunately cut short due to my shift change but this was a great way to end it.” Congratulations David, and thanks for keeping the streets of Nashville safe.
Blue Notes: 9 points
Ports: 6 points
Leesiders: 3 points