GPS coach Leland Strang and the Bruiser soccer team have found themselves in a few tight games so far due to a tough early-season schedule. As a result, they've learned quite a few ways to get a victory.
Wednesday night against second-ranked Notre Dame, they earned a win despite not playing their best.
Izzy Phillips and Keyle Snyder had a goal and an assist, and GPS -- ranked fifth in Division II-AA -- claimed a 3-1 victory over the defending Class A/AA state champions.
The win moved the Bruisers to 5-1 on the season, while the Irish fall to 2-3.
Strang's disappointment with her team came from a sub-par start to the second half, when Notre Dame's Erin Freeman scored a goal off a rebound to tie the game at 1 apiece.
About eight minutes later, though, Phillips headed in a goal off a Simone Busby free kick, then in the 67th minute, Snyder fed Olivia Fine, who fired a shot through the hands of Notre Dame keeper Grace Courter for the final margin.
"Overall, I didn't feel we played like a unit," Strang said, "But I thought we defended better and played more together halfway through the second half."
Team unity has been something that Strang has preached throughout the season, even if that unity has come at her expense. Wednesday during school, she sent an e-mail to her players stating 'My Kicks Are Pumped Y'all!" in reference to a song by Foster the People. Her next mission will be to work on her team's ability to finish. The Bruisers had nine shots on goal, although numerous others sailed wide or high.
Snyder had the team's first goal, in the 18th minute off an assist from Phillips.
Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn pointed out that he wasn't happy with the team's 'work rate' Wednesday evening.
"We have to play harder," he said. "We can't continue to make mistakes. We're playing OK, but we're not playing good enough to win. It's a lot like last year, but it has to get through to the players."