Riding The Wave

San Diego Surf vs. Gretna Elite Academy presented one of the most fascinating matchups of the entire ECNL San Diego national showcase. Surf has one of the most potent offenses in the U17 age group, while Gretna tossed out a defensive scheme that San Diego had rarely seen.

Throughout the first half, Gretna presented problems for Surf, or specifically, the Surf’s attacking corps. Gretna played a very high line, which resulted in multiple occasions where Surf got a clean break on the goalkeeper, but was met with a whistle for offside. Countering this, and confounding the Surf attack, was that Gretna opened the scoring 13 minutes into the game. 

Gretna’s Keely Yager got the ball at midfield, with nothing but space between her and the Surf goalie. Surf’s last line of defense charged off the line, hoping to break up the scoring chance. But Yager managed to slip the ball past the keeper and it rolled into the back of the net for the score. 

Surf continued with its game plan, but was having trouble getting the timing down to get a forward behind the defense without jumping offside. Thankfully, San Diego was able to pull even when the squad forced a turnover in the middle of Gretna’s defensive end, and Samantha Wiemann rocketed a shot into the net. 

Minutes following Surf’s tally, Gretna nearly made it a 2-1 contest when its forwards executed nearly an identical play as Yager’s tally, but the Surf netminder was able to make the stop on this play. 

Just before the final whistle, Surf was finally able to connect on one of its long balls. A service down the left side of the pitch, the Surf winger raced down to corral the pass before crossing it into the middle, where a teammate was waiting to capitalize. 

That goal, along with some halftime strategy adjustments, gave Surf the push they needed. 

Riding the wave of momentum created by its first-half goal, Surf scored four goals in the opening 22 minutes of the second frame, securing its second win of the weekend. 

“A good overall performance for the team today,” said Head Coach Philip Wolf. “Gretna asked us a question not many clubs will ask of us. You don’t see that too often. So we made a few halftime adjustments and then we were able to get in behind them and get some goals.”

Along with facing some adversity along the way at ECNL San Diego, Wolf said it’s been good for his team and club to welcome so many different organizations from around the country for this national event. 

“It’s obviously a blessing to be home, where you don’t have to travel,” Wolf said. “Everyone loves coming to San Diego too. So we’re very appreciative of the ECNL to bring everybody here and for us to be able to share our facilities and the beautiful weather.” 

And as for Saturday’s contest, Wolf’s Surf team proved that when faced with a defensive scheme designed to frustrate and stifle his offense, he knows his club will be able to adapt and still get the win. 

“The season’s a long process,” Wold said. “We’re not even halfway there. So we’re just building slowly over time and hopefully by the time playoffs roll around we’ll be ready to go.” 

To view all ECNL San Diego scores and the full schedule, click here