“Wow! I might say that those two were doing really great out there… But still, I can’t believe that they changed the tide that easily.” Nakazawa said. She called for a time out when Section B, scored three points in the last five minutes, tying the score.
“So, what are we going to do?” Aya asked while looking at Rika.
“Why are you looking at me? Shouldn’t you ask the captain? Or the watching sub-captain or even our coach?”
“Well, I’m just trusting in your so-called ‘beginner’s luck’.”
“I’m fine now, I think I can join too.” Miki suddenly said.
“No! Your injury might worsen… I don’t like my princess to walk funny on the day of our play.”
“But coach!” Miki protested “They might defeat us if we don’t do anything about it!”
“Can you handle being a goalie?” Rika suddenly asked, an idea popping on her head.
“What do you mean by that?” Nakazawa asked, suddenly intrigued by Rika’s question.
“Well, I know Eri’s a good goalie, but Miki can replace her for now. And I’ll assure you, they will not have a chance to get close to the goal.”
“Saa, why don’t we try that.” Hitomi said. “Eri will replace Sakamoto on the field, and ne-san will replace Eri… Let’s do that!”
Hitomi helped her sister get on the goal. Miki almost stood on her uninjured foot. It wasn’t really that bad and she can walk ‘gracefully’ on the day of the play… hopefully. She watched as Rika was whispering something to Eri before going on their positions.
“What was she up to?”
Aya caught the pass from Hitomi. Hitomi ran towards the direction of the goal. Sayumi suddenly appeared in front of her and tried to take the ball away. Hitomi lost the ball but Eri grabbed it swiftly away from Sayumi and kicked it upwards towards the direction of Rika.
“Do you remember the winning pass I did to Sayu when we had that Interschool Futsal Competition ?” Rika whispered to Eri.
“If you got hold of the ball, and you saw that I’m near the goal… pass it to me in ‘that’ way… got it?”
“What are you up to?”
“Nothing, just making this competition interesting.”
“YEAH!!!! That was great!!!” Nakazawa screamed on the side of the field. Reina and Sayumi were quite shocked at what Rika did. Miki limped one her uninjured foot and went to hug Rika.
“I didn’t know you were this good!”
“Thanks… beginner’s luck.”
“Ne-san! Go back on the goal!” Hitomi angrily said.
“Hai, hai…. I was just congratulating her. Geez, lighten up will you? Your fans will get turned off from you if they see your angry face.” Miki joked before going back to the goal.
“You must apply a great amount of spin on the ball. That will make the ball travel in a curved direction and not a straight one. The goalie will have no time to catch that kind of shot. You can do some kind of a round house kick to gather some force.”
“Eh? It’s still pretty difficult for me… Can’t you teach me other techniques of Captain Tsubasa?”
“That’s the only one I’ve mastered. And it’s pretty easy once you mastered the technique so why don’t you try it now? I’ll pass the ball upwards and then you catch it on mid air with that round house kick I’ve taught you.”
“Can’t we rest for a while? You’re teaching me that technique since this morning without break.”
“She’s challenging us.”
“Yes, I can see that. Why don’t you do that back flip of yours?” Reina winked at her friend.
“Sure, just pass me the ball.”
Section A leads the score by a point and there’s only few seconds remaining on the clock. Section B was attacking the goal but as Rika promised, they didn’t let them get close to the goal, thanks to the defensive play that Eri was giving them. Rika noticed that Reina and Sayu were looking at each other’s eyes for quite sometime now.
”They will do it… I need to anticipate it.”
Reina moved past Aya and was now going towards Miki. Rika ran faster and tried to get the ball away but Reina kicked it back using her heels. The ball flew upwards towards Sayumi’s direction on the far right of the goal.
“Eri! They’re doing it! Block her!” Rika screamed. She knew that Eri wouldn’t able to stop Sayumi due to the distance between them. Reina blocked her way and she couldn’t go pass her. Sayumi jumped high and did the back flip. Everyone was amazed at how high she could jump. The ball flew straight towards the goal. Miki limped immediately towards the right side of the goal.
”Kuso… I will not make it.”
The ball will go in if not for Hitomi who stopped the ball with her head. The bell rang as a sign of the end of the game.
“Hitomi! Are you alright? Hey! Answer me!”
“Itai….” Hitomi massaged her forehead. “Ne-san, I’m not dead yet. You don’t have to be anxious like that.”
“Why do we get too many injuries for a day? We still have to play the championship game!” Nakazawa roared.
“You don’t have to worry about section C. There are no varsity players in there unlike section B.” Aya replied. “And besides, I think we’ve discovered a new player, isn’t it?” She looked at Rika who was talking to Eri, Sayumi and Reina.
“Yeah, you’re right. I guess, we can now send Miki to the clinic and let Sakamoto replace her again?”
“No but’s… I expect you to do what I want you to do on the play that’s why you need to fix that ankle of yours.”
“I think Nakazawa will now have a different impression on the three of you.” Rika excitedly exclaimed.
“I knew it… you just wanted to make coach see that we’re much better than what she perceive of us, right?” Reina asked.
“Yeah, and a little challenge will make you want to show more than what you’ve got.”
“Hai! It’s been years since I’ve felt this kind of adrenaline again.” Sayumi commented.
“You know what; I guess there will be a great change in our line up after what we’ve showed today.”
“What do you mean by that?” Rika eyed Eri. Reina nodded as if getting an idea of what Eri will be saying next.
“Usually, it’s Miki and Hitomi… Hitomi and Miki. Now that Nakazawa saw our team work, I guess, those two will have limited time holding the ball.”
“And if you join us, maybe coach will make you the captain immediately!!!” Sayumi laughed.
“Hey, I just did it for our section. After this, I’m back to basketball.”
“Fine, whatever you say… I know Nakazawa will think about something so be prepared… Good luck on the championship.”
As Aya predicted, they easily defeated section C. Rika created many plays and chances for her team to score. They won by 7 points.
“Sugoi! Rika and Hitomi were a good tandem!” Sayumi exclaimed after she gulped her pineapple juice.
“Yeah, sugoi.” Reina replied nonchalantly. She eyed Aya who was looking directly at the two.
“I need to talk with her again.”