Trying to put a cohesive unit together without being on an outside regulation soccer field was not easy for the Ottawa High School players and coaches.
The Cyclones worked around the snow storms and practiced outside a handful of times throughout the preseason.
The snow postponed the first two Ottawa matches during the opening week, but on Thursday the Cyclones found a dry field to open the season.
Ottawa moved its home match with Topeka Seaman to the turf at Ottawa University’s Peoples Bank Field. But first, Ottawa had to clear the field of snow. There was at least four inches of snow covering the field on Wednesday.
The Cyclones gave the always-tough Seaman team a battle before falling 3-0.
“It was a welcome change to not be inside on a basketball court,” Ottawa coach Kelly Smith said. “I was proud of the way they took what we [practiced inside] and put it out on the field. It is a credit to my juniors and seniors to take that leadership role.
“It is time to play. They want to play. I never had a start to a soccer year as bad as this as gone. We have been on the field six or seven times.
“It is crazy.”
The Ottawa players learned to stay focused on the task.
“Plan for the game and pack the practice stuff,” Smith said. “Don’t lose focus. They have done a good job with that. It is what you deal with. They brought it tonight.”
Ottawa had a 25-minute lapse where Seaman took it to the Cyclones at the start of the second half. Seaman scored two goals to increase the lead to 3-0.
“We could not get it out because we were not winning the ball in the air,” Smith said. “We failed in that area. Overall, we hung in there with them. It was good technical soccer.
“We recognized what they were doing. Our defensive players did a great job. We wanted to play offense. We had it up on their side and put pressure on. That is tough to work on inside.”
Senior keeper Amanda Stinebaugh kept Ottawa close with her play in the net.
“She was amazing,” Smith said.
Now that the weather may cooperate, Smith said the Cyclones plan to work on their overall game.
“Next few practices we will have some competition going on,” she said. “I am excited about what this team can do.
“They are not afraid to hear what they need to work on.”
Ottawa (0-1) plays Tuesday at Kansas City Washington.