LUFC Women Eager to Grow After 4-1 Loss

“I’m happy seeing the work rate, communication and the effort go up and seeing people work for each other. Because at the end of the day I think that’s what makes us a special team.” -Neve Duston, Midfielder

The Lane United FC Women’s team fought hard this past Friday at Civic Park against a very strong FC Olympia team. Ultimately the Reds fell 4-1, but performed favorably despite the score. The quality of play and chemistry, given so many players are recent additions to the squad, was a testament to the talent here at LUFC. Head Coach Jurgen Ruckaberle commented on how impressed he was with the success of play, going on to say, “We stifled a lot of their attacks, so I was really pleased with that. We haven’t been able to work as much on the training ground for that, so I was proud of the players implementing something on a very quick turn-around against a very good team.” 

Neve Duston (left) and Jurgen Ruckaberle (right) (photo by Barbara Minkler)

As the first half commenced, FC Olympia came out firing, pressing hard, and forcing the Reds to struggle building out of their half. Within the second minute of play, FC Olympia’s press proved triumphant, putting the score up 1-0. Six minutes later, an arching shot across the box striking the back side of the goal put FC Olympia up 2-0. Despite the two early goals, the Reds responded with their own aggression, and began to have successful pockets of possession leading to some opportunities on net. When asked how the team responded to the intense press and early goals, midfielder Neve Duston remarked that, “You never want to get scored on and have the reaction be negative from that. Nevertheless, I’m happy that there was a reaction and I’m happy seeing the work rate, communication and the effort go up and seeing people work for each other. Because at the end of the day, I think that’s what makes us a special team.”

Neve Duston (Midfielder) (photo by Barbara Minkler)

As the half continued with both teams playing physically and battling hard, the Reds kept their heads up and focused on improving their play. However, even with LUFC clogging the middle and stifling a lot of FC Olympia’s attacks, a third goal in the 41st minute of play now put the score at 3-0. In spite of the score, the team remained level headed and focused on playing tough while still communicating positively. Then in the 45th minute of play, midfielder Allison Monroe barreled into the box, following a cross from right back Suzu Narusawa, and battled through her defender and the keeper to put the Reds on the board. The goal from Monroe heightened the Reds intensity and ended the half on a positive note. 

This intensity carried over into the second half, with the Reds coming out playing sharp and creating a lot more chances in the box. When asked what was said during halftime to keep the team invigorated going into the second half, Duston stated that, “at halftime it was talking about after the two goals what our reaction was and how when the subs came on what they did to keep ourselves in the game. We wanted to move forward with that into the second half.” 

From left to right: Lex Canyete-Asato, Alison Monroe, Neve Duston and Emma Johnston (photo by Barbara Minkler)

As the second half progressed, LUFC possessed in the attacking half and created positive opportunities offensively. Despite the positive play, FC Olympia continued to push back and earned the fourth and final goal in the 74th minute of play due to an inability to clear the ball. 

In spite of the score, the team feels positively about their performance, and now knows what needs to be prioritized going forward. When asked what was going to be focused on going into the rest of the season, Duston asserted that, “I think continuing to work as a unit, we had a lot of good moments where we connected, and had those relationships being built up throughout the game. Moving forward I want to see more of those and more confidence from people involved, because we have very good players that need to continue to know that they are good players.”

Friday’s match was particularly special due to FC Olympia Coach Ben Willis. Willis himself is an alum of LUFC, and was quite excited to be back competing at Civic Park. Willis felt “awesome and weird” competing against his alma mater. The coach went on to say that, “The Galas brothers are doing awesome things to build up soccer here in the community. It’s always fun to be here because the community rallies around these teams. I love coming back here, seeing familiar faces, and chatting with people. It’s an awesome community that I love being a part of and I love coming back to.” 

The LUFC Women’s team will be back at Civic Park on May 31st, hosting Tacoma Galaxy.

Jurgen Ruckaberle (left) and the Red Aces (photo by Barbara Minkler)