Washington’s first-ever girls soccer contest in the Gateway Athletic Conference Central Division was a success.
The Lady Jays (1-0, 1-0) scored a goal in each half for a 2-0 victory Friday at Ft. Zumwalt North.
“The girls played pretty well overall. With some new players, there will be some tense moments early in the season,” said Washington Head Coach Chris Lanemann. “The key is to minimize them, which is exactly what I thought the girls did. That’s especially true on defense, where we have three newcomers playing a lot of minutes.”
Mary McGilvray, a junior, registered the shutout in goal for Washington.
It was a solid defensive effort for the Lady Jays, who limited Ft. Zumwalt North’s scoring opportunities.
“The only returning starter on defense from last year is Taylor Andrews, who played very well taking over at the center back position in our zone,” Lanemann said. “Newcomers Sierra Thibault, Amanda Aiello and Elanna Osthoff all played very well at wing defense.”
Washington grabbed a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when junior forward Halee Nurnberger scored on an assist from junior midfielder Stacie Smith.
“Halee caught the Zumwalt North goalie out of position and floated a shot over her head for the goal,” Lanemann said.
The Lady Jays led 1-0 at halftime.
Washington made it 2-0 during the first minute of the second half when senior midfielder Liz Brinkmann scored on an assist from Nurnberger.
“The second goal was a very nice goal,” Lanemann said. “It began with Jenna Barnhart making a nice run down the wing and passing the ball to Halee, who put it across the crease. Liz Brinkmann made a nice run down the right wing and buried it on the backside.”
The Lady Jays controlled the play for most of the contest.
“Our front seven put a lot of pressure on Zumwalt North. The only issue was finishing our chances,” Lanemann said. “We had 14 shots on goal, which is a good total. I would have liked for us to finish more of our chances. I thought all of our midfielders played well, as did the forwards.”
Hopes are high this season for the Lady Jays, who return eight starters from last season’s varsity squad.
“I expect us to finish with a better record this year than we did last year and to contend for the GAC Central title,” Lanemann said. “We have a talented group of girls who provide more depth than we have had in a very long time.”
McGilvray started about half of Washington’s games in goal last year.
Senior Taylor Andrews is the lone returning starter on defense.
Juniors Arika Elliott and Brianna Pagan return in the midfield, along with senior Liz Brinkmann and sophomore Jenna Barnhart.
Leading the Lady Jays at the forward position are Nurnberger, juniors Salena Pottebaum and Jannel Aiello and sophomore Martha Noelker.
Lanemann said players who will step in and play roles this season include midfielders Destiny Hofstetter, a senior, and Stacie Smith, a junior.
Junior Amanda Aiello and sophomore Elanna Osthoff will contribute on defense.
Sophomores Sierra Thibault on defense and Savannah Thibault and Bailey Carico at midfield also will play roles.
Other newcomers to the varsity team include juniors Magen Kalish at midfield, Rachel Jones on defense and Anna Kelpe in goal.
Washington visits Pacific Thursday for a varsity only contest at 5 p.m.