Joel Barlow High’s girls soccer team had a solid defensive showing in a 2-0 season-opening loss to visiting South-West Conference rival Masuk of Monroe, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Panthers improved to 1-1, and this was Barlow’s season-opener.
Masuk’s speedy and skilled offense, led by Kacey Lawrence and Giavanna DeLorenzo was mostly held in check by Barlow’s back line and midfielders.
Lawrence, assisted by DeLorenzo, and Emma French scored for the Panthers.
Both goals came off rebounds following denials by Barlow goalkeeper Laurel Winslow (nine saves).
“I was really happy with the way our team kept with it,” Barlow coach Neil Phillips said of his team’s effort despite Masuk’s overall control of play.
Barlow’s Julia Hartmann, Maddie Stites, Lucy Witherbee, Caitlin Collins and Annie Tamallanca were among those who worked hard to deny Masuk threats in the back third.
“I feel we worked really hard off ball. We closed them down. They got a little bit of fortune with the first one,” the coach added.
Winslow charged out to knock a cross away. The ball went out of the 18-yard box, where French hit a low shot that slipped through the arms of a sliding Winslow with 15:56 to play in the opening half.
Masuk’s lead remained 1-0 through halftime and until Lawrence booted a ball out of the air and into the goal following a Winslow save on her initial shot attempt. The goal came with 31:53 to go.
Winslow made some impressive saves and plays, including a leaping grab midway through the second half, and a slide tackle to break up a passing sequence late in regulation.
The Falcons had some early chances to score but little overall pressure on the Masuk goal. Masuk keeper Maddie Kobza made three saves.
Phillips noted that the Panthers had a game to work off of. “That’s the best I’ve seen them for a while,” the coach said of the Panthers.
And Phillips is confident his team will look better as the season unfolds and the players get some game play behind them.
“This definitely won’t cost us our season. If anything it tells us where we need to be,” Phillips said.
“I think our team just has to keep getting our game fitness up. We have to take more shots and more chances and I’m confident we’ll come out on top in the end,” captain Hannah Ceva said.