It’s the little things that matter.
And it’s those positive moments — within a game — that Ketchikan High School head coach Andrew Wessling is looking to build off of, as the Lady Kings’ soccer season progresses.
A pair of back-to-back 7-0 losses against Thunder Mountain High School on Friday and Saturday might be what the scoreboard read at Esther Shea Field.
But for Kayhi’s brand new coach, who’s in charge of a brand new Lady Kings’ team, it’s not the most important thing.
It’s the growth from game to game — and even between a match’s two halves — that has Wessling — a soccer enthusist — looking forward to what’s down the road for Kayhi girls’ soccer.
“We’ll get there,” he said after Saturday’s loss. “But I do like that we’re seeing improvement from beginning to end in games. It’s those small victories that are helping us out, so it’s good.”
After falling behind 6-0 in the first half against the Thunder Mountain Lady Falcons on Saturday, Kayhi held its own on the defensive side of the ball during the second half.
The Lady Kings didn’t allow a score until extra time — after the entire 40-minute half had passed.
Thunder Mountain chipped a shot in that sailed into the back corner a couple minutes before the final whistle for the Lady Falcons’ seventh goal.
Lady Kings goalie Kiara Weber and the Kayhi defense was certainly busy in the second half. But while Weber blocked anything that came her way, the defense stayed strong in front of her for more than 40 minutes.
And that’s a “small victory” every Thunder Mountain possession.
“To step it up, and not let a goal until the last two minutes was awesome,” Wessling said. “And I mean, yeah, we just buckled down. ... The fact that we were able to step up and play that well was very encouraging. We just have to figure out how to do it at the beginning now.”
It was a similar scenario on Friday. Kayhi fell behind 5-0 after the first half, and only allowed two goals after the break.
But the Lady Kings’ ability to adjust so quickly from half to half is promising.
It means they are taking to heart what’s said at the break, and fully executing the game plan.
“Soccer’s different than most of your sports,” Wessling said. “Like, in basketball, you can call those set plays. You can do a lot of those different things. In a football game, you have a pause after each play.
“Whereas, soccer is more of a — you’re teaching as much as you can at a practice, and then at the games, they have to execute,” he continued. “You don’t have a timeout. So I can’t call a timeout halfway through (a play), and just say, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do differently.’”
Halftime, then, becomes that opportunity.
“So it’s one of those things where, you get your halftime adjustment,” Wessling said. “But most of it is — you have to go off of the experiences you had at practice, or things you haven’t seen yet. And you can’t simulate that game-time stuff.
“So you see those (moments) in the games, and you’re trying to make those adjustments — and the fact that both days, they were able to adjust so well at halftime was fantastic.”
Saturday’s halftime focused on tightening up the Lady Kings’ defense.
Kayhi’s Haley Heck, Frances Dickson, as well as Judy Meiresonne, helped lead the defensive stand in the second half.
“We changed up a little bit, just how tight we were on defense,” Wessling said. “(We) made the adjustments at halftime, and they listened fantastically well, and it worked. So it was one of those things.”
One of those ‘little things.’
“Little tweaks,” Wessling said, “that — not having played as many games, and you’re learning those things at the beginning — that, by the end of the season, that stuff will be natural.”
Notes: The Lady Kings will have a quick turnaround. After practicing on Monday and Tuesday, Kayhi will fly to Juneau for a pair of mid-week games against the Juneau-Douglas High School Lady Crimson Bears on Wednesday and Thursday.