OLYMPIA, WA— The Oly Town Artesians are new to the ‘outdoor game’ as a club. After three seasons in the Western Indoor Soccer League the Olympia side has joined the Evergreen Premier League. So far, so good for the capital crew. They are seeing incremental growth in the way they organize themselves on the pitch, especially on defense.
Artesians Head Coach Ray Finn is also learning on the go. On Sunday Oly Town matched up against Bellingham United, now a familiar foe both indoors and out. In their history against each other the Hammers of BUFC had won all seven matches – six indoors in the WISL and one just a few weeks ago outdoors in Lacey. That one went to BUFC 3-1.
“I am really pleased with how well we coped with their service into the box and how JJ Olson (Artesians goalkeeper) stood tall on numerous occasions to keep the clean sheet,” says Oly Town FC Head Coach Ray Finn. “While parking the bus is never an attractive or enjoyable tactic, it was effective for a road game where we were short some key players. Our tactics offered Bellingham some options to adjust their approach, which we were prepared to counter-adjust, if the opportunity arose. Fortunately, we were able to stick to our game plan and grind out the three points.”
“We made some tactical adjustments, moving Nate (Boatright) back into center back and compressing the space to force Bellingham to play the ball wide and lump balls into the box,” Finn says of his plan on Sunday. “The tactic paid off, due in part to Nate’s dominance in the box and his ability to marshal a disciplined defensive approach.”
For his efforts, Nate Boatright was named Defensive Player of the Week in the EPLWA. “As a leader, Nate commands respect and demands intensity from his teammates. I have rarely coached a player who has better vision for the game and who sees the play develop much earlier than anyone else on the pitch,” says Finn. “An All-American center back at Evergreen State in college, playing in the back line comes naturally to Nate, though he would prefer to be in the midfield, where all the fun is!”
Boatright was all about getting the job done on Sunday. “The strategy against Bellingham was to play into our strength,” he says. “We have a talented defense. This with our commitment to defensive organization was key. I think my role on that was helping to communicate in game organizational changes. It was a great team performance!”
The Artesians are 1-1-1 after three matches, currently tied for fourth in the table. They have given up just four goals over three matches, but they have struggled a bit on offense with just three goals.
“The season has gone well in my eyes,” says Boatright. “Being a new team in the league there was always going to be a period of adjustment and adaptation. I think we have coped well with the challenges we have faced. Hopefully we can use this win to spur on momentum for the next stretch of home games.”