Kval means qualifications. We started this journey hoping we would have a great season. Midway through, we realized it was going to be an amazing season. But none of us could’ve dreamed it was gonna be a spectacular, fabulous, unbelievably extraordinary season. And it has been. Today was no exception. We traveled all the way up north, further north than most of these players have ever been. We stayed at a hotel. We ate breakfast together. Got pumped together and headed to the first qualifying game.
We were warned about the field that it would be horrible. We were warned about the weather that it was colder than a witches nipple. We were warned about the length of the trip that it would be hard on our bodies. We used none of the above as excuses as we stepped onto that pitch. We are always up for challenges. We are always up to quiet the haters. And we were ready to conquer all those odds and have the time of our lives. And why not? None of us could imagine coming into this game undefeated in league and feeling this good. Bonus game is what it felt like. No pressure, just excitement and anticipation.
The match had a rough start for us. They came out strong and I was worried at times in the first 15 minutes. But we settled into the game and the other team started to get really annoyed with the refs. This was our ticket into their psyche. We said nothing to the ref and let them make their bed. And when their coach got way out of hand, he had to lie in it. And by that I mean he was kicked out and sent off. Wow right? This doesn’t happen often and when it did, we took full advantage of the shift in momentum in our favor.
From that moment, we kept the momentum going. It was 0-0 at half time and we were ready to battle it out for 45 more minutes. We hit harder. Passed better. Shot harder. Tackled better. We took control of the game and I can’t tell you how pumped you can get from watching your teammates kicking butt and taking names. With about 70 minutes gone, I get the ball and we set out to counter attack. I pass it up to Sanna and she takes off toward the back line. She looks up. The keeper is off her line. She takes a chance and shoots. It’s sailing up and over and GOAL!!!!!!!! We all freak the heck out because when you score in kval in an away match, the goals equal two. So we just scored TWO goals in one! So so so exciting and we were just elated.
Time starts to tick in slow motion now. 80. 81. 82. Please for the love of all that is football. 90. We were getting closer. The ref says we have 3 minutes of stoppage time. 91. A ball goes back towards our back line and Jonah gets there first and sends a perfect ball over their back line. Who gets on the end of it? Sanna does. She takes a great touch forward, shoots with her left foot and I swear time stopped for a second as the ball went zipping passed their keeper! What?!? Did Sanna who just came back from an injury….who has had to watch us from the side lines selflessly cheering us on…..did she just score again?!? Yes. Yes she did.
We freaked out! I fell to the ground before joining the dog pile on top of Sanna. We were now 2-0 up which technically meant we were 4-0 up because both goals counted for two. It felt insane. It still feels insane. It still feels like I’m gonna wake up on the plane to Sweden and start my stay here. I can’t believe this season. How lucky I’ve been to land in the middle of nowhere in Sweden with the most inspiring and hardworking players I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with.
Blessed. Lucky. Call it what you may, but I’m just so so ecstatic that I’m here. Woo! One more game and we are qualified for the higher league. This. Is. Insane.