All for one. There is no ‘I’ in team. Work together.
As consistently as coach Brent Anderson has stressed the value of teamwork, the Wolverines have shown equal inconsistency in its application.
A 1-0 victory over Boise State gave the impression UVU had turned a corner, internalized the lesson. Two days later, a 3-0 loss to Idaho showed the transition from “me” to “we” is a process, not an event.
“In the first game [against Boise], we did make some slight mistakes, but we were working together well enough that we were able to cover up for those mistakes,” Anderson said. “The second game, we played so individually. So when we did make a mistake, we weren’t able to cover. We just didn’t have the support out there in the field.”
It’s an issue the Wolverines didn’t have during the exhibition season and their season opener against Southern Utah. Not coincidentally, they swept the games in that stretch. Since then, UVU is 1-4 going into last Sunday’s game against Northern Colorado.
A 3-1 loss to UTEP in that stretch proved to be the microcosm of UVU’s quandary. In the first half, UTEP scored three goals while shutting out the individually-oriented Wolverine offense. The Wolverines readjusted their game plan in the second half, attacking with the team-centered offense Anderson strives to implement. They scored a goal while shutting out UTEP in that half.
That half, followed by the victory over Boise State, showed UVU can play together. Anderson pointed out the Wolverines sometimes confuse playing hard with playing right.
“They don’t realize when they’re playing individualized,” Anderson said. “They’re putting in a ton of effort. I’ll never say they’re not working hard, because they always work hard. But they’re working so hard they don’t stop and take a breath, and say, ‘I’m running my guts out here, but I‘m still not accomplishing anything.’”
The difference shows in the results. The games where Anderson has seen the desired cohesiveness, victories followed. Including exhibition matches, those games include four wins, 10 goals, eight assists and one goal allowed.
In the four losses that lacked the preferred teamwork? One goal scored, zero assists, 11 goals allowed.
“Every loss I think, when we go back and look at the film, we’re like, ‘Wow, what are we doing?’” Anderson said. “It’s always something we have done. We gave the ball away or we didn’t make a good decision because we weren’t looking for help. No disrespect to the teams that beat us, but really, we’re just making it hard on ourselves.”
The Wolverines will play at home on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. against Idaho State before they head out on the road again.