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SLU Women's Soccer Thread (2020 - 2021)


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6 minutes ago, slufanskip said:

ouch. Then we lose. I hope this is a lesson learned. 

This is what I was referring to when I was asked a few posts back if it was DNP and injuries, and, I said “yes” to all of the above.  It’s an opportunity for some other SLU players.

Iowa is coming off of a recent 2-1 win at DePaul. They had dream conference tourney championship run in the Spring after they struggled during league play. It’s another Power 5/Big East opportunity for SLU.

 

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Question for courtside or anyone else close to the program.

Last year we had an outstanding local player transfer from Tenn. , H Cytron.  She is not shown on the roster this year.  Transfer out or injured or just left school?  No info that I can find on any school release, which is strange since departures from the basketball programs are shown.

 

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1 hour ago, slufanskip said:

ouch. Then we lose. I hope this is a lesson learned. 

What is discouraging is that the group of DNP's is comprised of some of our best players and all of them were upperclassmen.   Since they have been with the program for at least 2 years, they are players you would look to for leadership on a still young team.  I'm sure Katie was very disappointed, but I trust her judgment that these suspensions were warranted and sent the correct message to the rest of the team regarding her expectations.

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2 hours ago, bauman said:

What is discouraging is that the group of DNP's is comprised of some of our best players and all of them were upperclassmen.   Since they have been with the program for at least 2 years, they are players you would look to for leadership on a still young team.  I'm sure Katie was very disappointed, but I trust her judgment that these suspensions were warranted and sent the correct message to the rest of the team regarding her expectations.

Remember though I don't believe we know which were DNP due to injury and which were due to suspensions. 

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1 hour ago, slufanskip said:

Remember though I don't believe we know which were DNP due to injury and which were due to suspensions. 

Agreed, that's why I didn't name any names since there are a few question marks.  However, as a group the DNPs is weighted heavily with Jr's and Sr's.  It's also possible that one or more of the suspended players are also on the injured list.

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On 8/21/2021 at 11:23 AM, bauman said:

Question for courtside or anyone else close to the program.

Last year we had an outstanding local player transfer from Tenn. , H Cytron.  She is not shown on the roster this year.  Transfer out or injured or just left school?  No info that I can find on any school release, which is strange since departures from the basketball programs are shown.

 

Hadley had a few setbacks, and it didn’t work out. High character, high academics, highly decorated prep and club player. She tried to get some summer run with St. Louis Lions in WPSL. That team was mostly low D-1, D-2, D-3 and had a rough summer season (She is formerly the first high school player to ever play with Fire & Ice, where half a dozen SLU players played this summer. Another half dozen with SLSG and another handful with KC)

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Another tough one for SLU today. 1-0 Iowa. Beach and Halverson banged up, neither played 30 minutes. Groark (left knee), Summers (left ankle/foot), Denison (right knee), Stureman has missed all of preseason games through now, some of the banged up players, not including Larson and Lawler’s longer term injuries. 

SLU opened with Beach, Heckel, Stram and Houck in back. Halverson and Friedrich wide, Kohl and Walsh D Mid, Preusser AMid, and Kelly up top.

After a strong first 10 minutes for SLU, Iowa was able to get midfield space, wide left side, away from Friedrich, 50/50 service ball banged off Heckel into space. Walsh caught ball watching, and Not 100% Beach (team fitness test winner) couldn’t close fast enough. Puricelli stayed on her line and Roling finished. Backline positioning and defensive mid help was better as the game progressed, and better than Thursday. But it still needs a little more polish. 

SLU tried Walsh at defensive mid with Kohl. Last game they tried Brinkman there with Miller. Halverson wide left mid. At times Kohl moved outside right. 

If Heckel’s set piece header from Friedrich goes in, instead of off of the frame, it could have changed the way the game was played, and, for SLU, something they needed.

90 minutes effective minutes on the back line for St. Louisan Samantha Cary for Iowa (FHN/SLSG)

Unfortunately, the offense (and other areas) needs healthy players playing in position, maintaining shape, to be more successful. Distribution out of the back was a little better, but from midfield forward it wasn’t. Passing, decision making, and first touch, has some room for improvement. Lots of work to do, especially offensively.

Big game at Kansas Thursday. 

 

 

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Seems like lots of injuries to start the season.  .  The more serious one's-Lawler and Larson- are a big loss and hopefully we can at least get Lawler back along with the others with minor injuries.  Plus getting everyone off the suspension list has to help, especially since it obviously included some team leaders.  KU will almost be like our first game but it would be a nice win.  0-3 is not a way to start the season when we were ranked in the top 25. 

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9 hours ago, bauman said:

Seems like lots of injuries to start the season.  .  The more serious one's-Lawler and Larson- are a big loss and hopefully we can at least get Lawler back along with the others with minor injuries.  Plus getting everyone off the suspension list has to help, especially since it obviously included some team leaders.  KU will almost be like our first game but it would be a nice win.  0-3 is not a way to start the season when we were ranked in the top 25. 

Groark has been the most impactful short term offensive injury, considering how well she has played during preseason and this summer, and, for her versatility. And, it wasn’t expected compared to the long term injuries of Larson and Lawler. Summers, Beach, Halverson, are some of SLU’s better athletes. Friedrich, Miller missed a different game each. This was going to be one of SLU’s better strength and conditioning teams, which was a program area of need. But that hasn’t been able to happen yet.

Without Larson, offense was going to be enough of a collective team effort challenge. Need to get as close as possible to an ideal 11 players without her. Unfortunately SLU isn’t converting its limited offensive chances right now, and, opponents are doing so just enough to win. 

SLU isn’t the only good team to either struggle early this weekend, or, to struggle to score early. It’s a long season. One game at a time. But the effort and execution need to improve for SLU to be more successful, injuries or not.

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Obviously we need improvement in our goal scoring which can happen via injured or suspended players returning to the lineup.  One other possibility is a position change.  Unfortunately, because many of our defenders are from across the river or further out of town so I did not get to see them play in HS. (I seldom, if ever, cross the bridge to watch Illinois teams)

Getting Miller and hopefully Groark back soon will certainly help and I had hoped to see more from our Union, Mo freshman but even with all of the above we still could use some more goal scoring ability, which takes me back to position changes.

While I CLEARLY defer to Katie's knowledge of all her players' skills, I do recall two local players who were excellent scoring at top level high schools-Kohl and Heckel.  The latter led her team in scoring as she and Jess P. led Nerinx to a second place finish in the MO large school division in their Junior years-they lost their senior years due to the Covid shutdown.  Both Kohl and Heckel are aggressive, physical players and Heckel, I believe, is listed as our tallest player.  Just a thought to shake things up.

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20 hours ago, bauman said:

Obviously we need improvement in our goal scoring which can happen via injured or suspended players returning to the lineup.  One other possibility is a position change.  Unfortunately, because many of our defenders are from across the river or further out of town so I did not get to see them play in HS. (I seldom, if ever, cross the bridge to watch Illinois teams)

Getting Miller and hopefully Groark back soon will certainly help and I had hoped to see more from our Union, Mo freshman but even with all of the above we still could use some more goal scoring ability, which takes me back to position changes.

While I CLEARLY defer to Katie's knowledge of all her players' skills, I do recall two local players who were excellent scoring at top level high schools-Kohl and Heckel.  The latter led her team in scoring as she and Jess P. led Nerinx to a second place finish in the MO large school division in their Junior years-they lost their senior years due to the Covid shutdown.  Both Kohl and Heckel are aggressive, physical players and Heckel, I believe, is listed as our tallest player.  Just a thought to shake things up.

I understand your general point of trying to mix things up with different attacking players. SLU has already tried a few things, and, with some recent injuries continuing, they will try more things.

Short term vs long term are different strategies based on injury. I’m not going to elaborate on suspensions other than to say injuries have been and will be a bigger deal for SLU. 

You could have also added Stram to your listed of converted forwards to backs for SLU. (It’s also a thing elsewhere as more teams want more versatile players and better athletes on their teams. In basketball they are often called switchables) Stram broke her high school scoring record in just 3 seasons. Won a state title. State Gatorade player of the year. But she also played center back on her club team. Stram was a top 100 player for SLU as a center back.

Heckel was also an offensive prep player, was just outside the top 100 for SLU at the same center back position. SLU wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without them at their positions last season. 

SLU has already tried to move some people around with Mattyn Summers. She played forward in high school and center back on her club team.  And, she has already played both defender, attacking wide mid player for SLU. (current area of need with Larson and Groark out) Unfortunately she couldn’t play Sunday vs Iowa because she picked up an injury playing right side wide midfield in the attacking 3rd. Fell awkwardly on a high tackle. She will be in a walking boot a little while. Hannah Sawyer also has played both forward and all over the midfield (out of need) Groark is someone who would be playing both forward and wide midfield for SLU. Larson and Friedrich often played the wide mids. SLU also tried a less than 100% Halverson at left wide mid Sunday, after she moved to play left back from the right side with Beach out vs Xavier. This allowed Houck to play right back.

Summers and Sawyer have played more due to their fitness, speed and versatility while some others have been out. (Both need some technical work as do all of the new players.) There’s always an adjustment to the pace physicality, technical ability, and fitness of the college game. Gaebe will have an easier time with the physicality but will need to adjust to the others to get more than end of half minutes. (And she will)

SLU played Brinkman at defensive midfield vs Xavier with Kohl out for the game. Brinkman later moved to her more familiar and comfortable outside back role as Beach was out, and Halverson hasn’t been 100%. Halverson moved from right to left with Beach out so Houck could play the right side. Kohl returned to defensive midfield.m vs Iowa. However with Miller out, Walsh dropped back to defensive midfield for the game. And, at times to give Houck a breather at right back, Kohl played some there as well in a higher spot at wide mid to move up in the attack. 

Obviously if you take someone that has been successful at one position, you have to replace that player’s former position. And there is also a matter of familiarity of playing with someone for a while. I’ll give you an example:

When Iowa scored, SLU’s backline didn’t have a good shape and was out of position. It was a bit of a break for Iowa as Heckel tightly marked Iowa’s forward and the service ball banged off of her to her left to open space. A less than 100% Beach was unable to get back there in time. Walsh didn’t leave her position to drop and break up the play. 

Now, a little bit later, SLU did much better when Iowa beat Heckel 1v1 on Iowa’s attacking right side. Help was there for SLU in the form of Stram to cut off the attacker and force a centering of the ball. SLU’s right back Houck slid over to break up that pass and clear it out of the box. Better positioning, better help, better shape. Better defense. 

Out of SLU’s backline players, Halverson is someone that can more easily move anywhere on the backline,  as well as defnesive midfield, or wide flank two way midfield. 

About once a game, many of SLU’s backline defenders have been beaten 1v1 thus far. That needs to be cleaned up a bit. But again, that is part of the game and defense is a group effort. Midfielders have to get back to defend as well, particularly two way wide mids. It’s a collective effort.

SLU hasn’t had the health or personnel to effectively play a high press as of yet. 

At one point SLU has missed as many as 9 players its first two games. Some will return sooner than others. You are seeing some deeper bench players having to play more minutes to keep fresh bodies. SLU also has opened with a Big East team and a Big 10 team, anticipating a more full squad. 

Idealistically with Larson out, Kelly would be playing up top with Groark and Friedrich at wide mid, and Preusser and Walsh sharing an attacking mid role. Miller and Kohl at defensive mids. Halverson and Beach outside backs along with Houck. That would also allow for bench depth with both new and returning players for those behind them to give minutes at those various positions. This is SLU’s preferred set up with Larson and Lawler out. 

Miller, Kohl are defensive mids that can get up in play and contribute on set pieces. Halverson and Beach outside backs with their fitness levels defending and getting forward. Houck also presents someone that can contribute both in set pieces offensively as well as following the play. She had a nice chance vs Iowa, and she scored vs Evansville off of a set piece. Heckel as mentioned, also gets forward on set pieces. 

We’ll see how it goes Thursday. Kansas is off to a bit of a slow start, and they will be looking for a win vs SLU. SLU will have recruiting commits and recruiting targets at the game in Lawrence. (It was nice to see some SLU recruiting commits and several recruiting targets this past weekend for the Xavier and Iowa games)

 

 

 

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SLU at Kansas tonight. Long time KU coach Mark Francis will be familiar to SLU fans.

Slow offensive start for KU this season, in the final 3rd of the field. They will have a true Freshman Magali Gagne up top who is poised and capable of finishing, but inexperienced. Both teams need a result. Good opportunity here for SLU if they can push the pace, get a high press going, be dangerous on set pieces and counters . . KU is only a couple of seasons removed  from their recent Sweet 16 team. But this is more of a middle of the pack, tough to play against, low scoring Big 12 team. 

KU’s strength is in back with a four year starting keeper, Sarah Peters, who isn’t afraid to come off of her line, and several veteran backline defenders. Some local Stl people will recognize the Childers sisters in the midfield. 

KU likes to give space, clog the middle of the field. They are more of an East West possession team switching fields using width to build an attack. They often play in the middle third of the field. They defend well, but they can be vulnerable on set pieces and restarts with both 2nd wave of attackers, particularly on inside runs, on their back right side, and with 2nd and 3rd clears. They are patient and organized, willing to wait for mistakes. 

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25 minutes ago, Cowboy II said:

-no wins in first three, with the team returning who saw that coming?

-let's get kicking Ladies

I know nothing about women's soccer, but it seems like these first 3 opponents were fairly tough.  I'm sure the suspensions and injuries played a role as well.  I don't think it is panic time by any means.

I know losses have an impact on seeding, but ultimately I assume SLU needs to win the A10 tournament to make the NCAAs (and is still heavily favored to do so), right?

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Not just no wins in the first three games, but no goals.

The team had 9 suspensions spread out over the first two games. They've also had some short-term injuries to deal with and the long-term absences of Larson and Lawler. Larson's speed and scoring are particularly missed right now, and Lawler is just so solid.

It's been a good schedule but SLU would've been the favorite in all three under normal circumstances, and even under the roster challenges shouldn't be 0-3.

There's no reason they still can't dominate the A10 and will still be expected to do so. The problem now is they're digging out of a hole for the rest of the season and they're probably already past the point of being a top-16 seed like they were in the NCAA Tournament last season. So no, it's not time to panic by any means but they need to right the ship in short order.

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1 hour ago, Pistol said:

Not just no wins in the first three games, but no goals.

The team had 9 suspensions spread out over the first two games. They've also had some short-term injuries to deal with and the long-term absences of Larson and Lawler. Larson's speed and scoring are particularly missed right now, and Lawler is just so solid.

It's been a good schedule but SLU would've been the favorite in all three under normal circumstances, and even under the roster challenges shouldn't be 0-3.

There's no reason they still can't dominate the A10 and will still be expected to do so. The problem now is they're digging out of a hole for the rest of the season and they're probably already past the point of being a top-16 seed like they were in the NCAA Tournament last season. So no, it's not time to panic by any means but they need to right the ship in short order.

The loss of Larson is huge imo. With all respect to Hannah Friedrich, she was clearly their most dynamic offensive player and the most creative. Hannah F had a lot of assists but many were off corners or set pieces. Larson was the only player that had the real ability to take on defenders 1v1 besides just pushing the ball past and outrunning them. She changes the way you have to defend them. 

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4 minutes ago, slufanskip said:

The loss of Larson is huge imo. With all respect to Hannah Friedrich, she was clearly their most dynamic offensive player and the most creative. Hannah F had a lot of assists but many were off corners or set pieces. Larson was the only player that had the real ability to take on defenders 1v1 besides just pushing the ball past and outrunning them. She changes the way you have to defend them. 

Completely agree. Watching games last season, she immediately jumped out. No one else had/has her on-ball speed and creativity.

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3 hours ago, RUBillsFan said:

I know nothing about women's soccer, but it seems like these first 3 opponents were fairly tough.  I'm sure the suspensions and injuries played a role as well.  I don't think it is panic time by any means.

I know losses have an impact on seeding, but ultimately I assume SLU needs to win the A10 tournament to make the NCAAs (and is still heavily favored to do so), right?

You don’t need to know anything about soccer to post in the soccer thread. Anyone is welcome. 

It’s a bit early to talk NCAA’s and seeding. SLU isn’t the only team to struggle early that was expected to be better. And there have been some other teams that have performed better than expected as well. Lots of season left. My concerns may be a bit different than some other people’s concerns, which I’ll post separately about the game. Sometimes there can be less effective non specific speculation and misinformation. 

As far as SLU’s opponents, they have been expected to be middle of the pack teams in the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12. Hopefully they 

SLU preseason was expected to win the A-10, and conference tournament. Winning the conference tournament is the automatic qualifier. (No gimmie for either) But that’s all far off into the future. Playing well, and playing better are what matter right now. And, that’s something they can do specifically with what they have. And that starts with daily training. I’m sure there may be some bandwagon people that will perhaps jump off a bit, and bounce back at a later time. 

 

 

 

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KU 2 SLU 0.

SLU’s effort and execution were a little bit better.

Puricelli started behind Houck, Stram, Heckel, Beach in back. Beach has a right quad injury since preseason. She was able to give 45 minutes. Halverson who was banged up in previous games, was unable to play. Summers is out with a foot/ankle. Part of the strength of SLU’s backline is the speed and fitness on the outside to force attackers wide, to cover for other defenders, and to move up in the attack. SLU likes to do this with Halverson often. 

Miller, Kohl, in the defensive midfield, with Friedrich wide right, Sawyer wide left, Preusser in the attacking midfield, and Kelly up top. Groark (left knee) has yet to be able to play, and she would be playing both wide mid and up top of SLU. Summers also has played wide mid and up top besides in back. Obviously Lawler and Larson have longer term injuries in SLU’s attack. 

KU’s first minute goal is an example of a reoccurring problem early in SLU’s season. Sawyer had a turnover SLU half of midfield, (She got knocked off of the ball, but she later played well, pace in space component off of the dribble or pass, and was more strong on the ball later) Miller was slow in execution with help winning the ball, but made the correct decision to step out), Rylan Childers took the space diagonally and headed towards goal. Kohl, played the passing lane vs stopping ball, (have to stop ball there, Kohl later did well winning several KU clearance balls at midfield) as the backline drifts back (have to stop ball there but solid overall in back) and gives a little more space, all that Childers needs to hit one low far post from the right side which catches Puricelli a little bit back toward her line. Great finish. Several players were a little bit too caught off guard. The little things, just one minute into the game. 

More offense would take some pressure off of the defense, (it’s all connected) but SLU has to clean some things up defensively too. Some wide mids are not playing two way enough, (Friedrich and Sawyer were better last night) some defensive mids haven’t defended well enough in the center of the final third of the field, and, at times, individually, the back line has been beaten 1v1 more than SLU would like. Help defense has been spotty. (KU’s 2nd goal was a near post run where Wiltgen was able to get a cross on Beach’s side to Severns who was able to get inside of Houck for a close header that deflected off of Puricelli and in.) Houck had a very good game, suffered a reckless tackle, stayed in the game, played well very banged up. But that one time she lost inside position on a right corner service, bang bang goal. .

SLU did well to create some space during the game, move forward, and, they forced 10 corners, a few other set pieces, several dangerous. SLU won just about every one of them, that needed just a little bit better finishing. That can change a game. Miller, Heckel, Houck, Stram, Kohl, the primary targets. Set pieces and counters are a big aspect to SLU’s offense and opportunities were there.

SLU isn’t getting enough from Kelly alone up front without having her pair with someone else. She is a target forward that has technical ability. Inaccurate finishing, and too often lack of numbers have limited her effectiveness. KU had 3 backs that recognized this and took the space. SLU was good at times defending passing lanes. KU also sent two forwards as opposed to having one show as a target more often. 

Gaebe thought not yet match fit, provided lots of good minutes creating pressure and playing with physicality. (Just missed an equalizer late first half great save off off of the cross bar inside the box) And she was rewarded with more minutes up top in the 2nd half because she was active and a handful.

So it’s a bit of a challenge, moving players around (mostly due to both short and long term injuries)

It’s a bit limiting to pick out one player, and when picking out one player, sometimes the value missed can be a variety of things. Take Larson, her ability to chase down players defensively, from a wide mid position is missed, let alone her offensive abilities. But SLU prepared for not having her. What SLU didn’t prepare for was not having Groark (an all league U23 summer offensive player) for any games, not having Beach and Halverson at all or 100% fitness levels and so forth. These are some of the things that add up, deplete the bench, force players out of position, and force more time for players where depth was expected, and time for players who weren’t expected to play as much. 

The effort was better vs KU, and the offensive play was better. There are still those few times a game mistakes defensively that weren’t as expected thus far, at least, as often especially in the defensive midfield. 

Due to some of the longer term injuries, SLU was going to have to have a collective effort. Due to some of the unexpected injuries, playing more players out of position and more often, it’s opened some holes and/or put more pressure on other areas of play. And, thus far, it’s a challenge SLU hasn’t met good enough. 

Idealistically, SLU has a lineup of Larson and Friedrich wide mid, Lawler attacking mid, with similar defensive mids and backs as mentioned above. This allows for Preusser and Walsh to come off of the bench at attacking mid, allows Groark to play up top or to pair with Kelly who can come off of the bench as well. And this allows for Summers and Sawyer to play either wide or top off of the bench. It would also increase the team speed and pace of play as well. But that hasn’t been the case, so the focus is game by game with what they have.

But SLU isn’t playing as well as they can with what they have. It isn’t easy, but the challenge is part of the fun, finding ways to turn it around and be successful under some adversity. 

Sunday will provide an opportunity to get on the board with a win at Illinois St.

 

 

 

 

 

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Courtside, Thank you for the continued fantastic coverage and insight. For a while now my daughter has been obsessed with the Billikens, and dragged me into it with her. Honestly in my limited soccer knowledge as former mid level club coach, referee  for club NAIA and High School, and parent with 3 kids playing, I believe they were in the top 10 of teams we watched play this spring across all conferences.  I have to believe they will get back on track. Fantastic coaches with high ethics and a team that is as cohesive as they seem from the outside says as much. Looking forward to seeing them put it back together. Thank you for the time you take to share your knowledge here. I just registered but she has been reading me posts from the site all year. Very much appreciate you, never thought I’d become an SLU fan,  but here I am. 

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46 minutes ago, Bearcat said:

Courtside, Thank you for the continued fantastic coverage and insight. For a while now my daughter has been obsessed with the Billikens, and dragged me into it with her. Honestly in my limited soccer knowledge as former mid level club coach, referee  for club NAIA and High School, and parent with 3 kids playing, I believe they were in the top 10 of teams we watched play this spring across all conferences.  I have to believe they will get back on track. Fantastic coaches with high ethics and a team that is as cohesive as they seem from the outside says as much. Looking forward to seeing them put it back together. Thank you for the time you take to share your knowledge here. I just registered but she has been reading me posts from the site all year. Very much appreciate you, never thought I’d become an SLU fan,  but here I am. 

Thank you. Very kind. Anyone, and, any input is welcome here. Everyone has something to contribute, and everyone has room to learn something from someone else. So, keep coming back. They’ll get back on track. Keep watching and attending games. It’s a lot of fun and it’s going to get better. 

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