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RichlandsAlum

Defeating Martinsville

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Sharing these observations largely gained from competing against them in travel ball (as well as preseason friendlies) over the years.

Beginning with an understatement -- overcoming this Martinsville team is not going to be easy.  But it can be done.

They are very talented -- and they know it.  But the main portions of their game plan are largely psychological.  Generally speaking they are aggressive, physical, and do their best to be intimidating.  It's the way they are coached from the time they start playing travel ball for PYSL and they execute it very well.  They are also very well disciplined.  Although they may push the limits, they generally are not a "chippy" team.  But they have an uncanny ability to push their opponents to play that way -- and once inside another team's head, their talent is usually enough to resolve the issue definitively and in fairly short order.  It's not quite "shock and awe" but it's not far from it.

It's important for an opponent to understand that going in (particularly teams that may be experiencing it for the first time).  But if your players can be confident in their own ability, play their own game plan, and deliberately ignore the "bait" in terms of the mental aspect of the match that will dramatically increase your odds of success (and by "dramatically" I mean that it still mostly raises your odds to being closer to even).  If it's possible to score on them early, then keep pressing that advantage to the greatest possible extent.  Since they don't find themselves in a position of playing from behind very often, it's even possible that an opposing team can flip the psychological aspect against them if you can build a lead of at least 3 goals.  But it's very difficult to ever put them away.  Even though it doesn't happen to them often, as a team they are designed to recover and overcome negative margins that most other teams cannot.

Some opponents (like Giles in VHSL and a couple of clubs in travel) have gained familiarity over the years and figured out how to compete against them.  But even those teams haven't had a high level of success against this particular group of players.  Along with their outstanding facilities in the Smith River complex, Martinsville is blessed by an outstanding program overall in terms of their school and travel teams.  Really great coaching and genuinely good folks overall.  Like most folks in the area, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they are doing there.

Sharing this mainly due to my lifelong allegiance to Richlands as my alma mater -- not because I have an axe to grind or harbor any ill will toward Martinsville.  (Quite the contrary, actually.)

Here's hoping for a great match and congratulations to both sides for making it this far.

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Martinsville's biggest asset this year is speed and more speed. They scored very early in most games this year and they do have a never give up attitude. Came back late from 2 goal deficits to tie 6A Franklin Co and GW-Danville. They have a very talented team but are not unbeatable. Richlands I'm sure will be a very good test.

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Martinsville soccer reaps benefits of region win, now looks ahead to state tournament

By Cara Cooper

excerpt: 

There were two perks to Martinsville’s boys soccer team winning the Region 2C championship last week.

The first, of course, was being crowned region champions, the first time they’ve held that trophy since 2015.

https://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/sports/martinsville-soccer-reaps-benefits-of-region-win-now-looks-ahead/article_8baa440e-8638-11e9-8bdb-bb49a4daf275.html

 

great state

 

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On 6/3/2019 at 5:17 PM, pdfan said:

Martinsville's biggest asset this year is speed and more speed. They scored very early in most games this year and they do have a never give up attitude. Came back late from 2 goal deficits to tie 6A Franklin Co and GW-Danville. They have a very talented team but are not unbeatable. Richlands I'm sure will be a very good test.

No, not really.  If this is a 1-goal game, I’d be shocked.

 

Edit: I did not see the final before I posted this.

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I wasn't there, but it sounds like Richlands made a pretty good showing after Martinsville jumped on them early.  Congratulations to the Blues for a great season overall and for making a big stride in the life of the program.

The semifinal between Martinsville and George Mason has the potential to be a real treat for any soccer fans/spectators that can make it to Radford on Friday morning.

I was a bit surprised by the margin in the Giles-Graham match.  But I know that this particular generation of Giles players have done exceedingly well.  I'll also offer the observation that the Region D soccer teams are at a disadvantage compared to the rest of Virginia due to the effects of travel ball.  The ability to effectively play year round against challenging competition makes a huge difference.  Here's hoping that the current recreational soccer arrangements in God's County can blossom into something a bit larger.

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