Aries 14, 2078, m249
The Moles' Machine continued to hum along smoothly with a convincing 3 - 0 victory over the Phantoms at Noviymir.
With the win, the Moles moved into sole possession of 1st place with a 4-1 record while The Phantoms dropped to 1-4. With yesterday's ISMO announcement of a 2nd stage exhibition featuring the top 4 teams, the Phantoms now face elimination while the Moles have earned their spot in the play-off-like exhibition round.
"I know this is a cliché but we just have to focus on one game at a time", said Captain Janice Campbell.
And that focus has helped turn the Moles into one of the most compelling teams of this experimental game. That and the strong chemistry among the players, especially with Vicky Li, Kara Okeke, and Janice Campbell who developed their bond in recreational field hockey in San Olympus well before ISMO.
Their familiarity was evident in the 1st goal.
Li drew the attention of two Phantoms before sneaking a stretch pass to Campbell who raced into the zone, waited until Phantom goaltender Vivien Lewis moved in front of the puck before ripping a snapshot past her to open up scoring.
"It's like we can read each other's minds", said Li afterwards.
In addition to the overall team chemistry, could their success also be attributed to the fact the team carries more women than men?
"I don't know", said Campbell. "Last I checked, our goalie and lead scorer are guys. Everybody plays their part."
Indeed, Sam Bailey earned his 2nd shutout with 15 saves and Fredrick Mattila netted two goals in the 3rd period, bringing him to 8 goals, second only to the Wildcards' Mateo Martinez.
As the Moles continue their success, so does interest in the team and the hopes for a possible league.
"I would like to think we're building the foundation for a pro league", said Campbell. "Whether it's us or the next generation, we'll see. But hopefully it's us."