MIDDLEFIELD—As a first-year program, the Cardinal girls’ soccer team is going to face its share of adversity this season.
On Saturday, the Huskies played with just 11 players and a backup goalie but remained competitive in a 3-0 loss to visiting Badger.
“The effort was there, especially after we had a few letdowns coming into this game,” said Cardinal co-coach Brian Gallagher. “We had a team meeting on Friday and you saw the benefits. We started playing like a team again.”
With starting goalkeeper Anna Avalon out with an injury, Kayla Valentine stepped in to protect the net. She recorded 16 saves in her debut.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen her play in the goal and she did a great job,” Gallagher said. “I don’t think she’s played there since she was in (youth soccer) as a young kid.”
The Huskies played the Braves even for over 20 minutes in the first half.
One mistake cost Cardinal as Badger took a 1-0 lead with 17:07 left in the half.
The Braves needed just over a minute in the second half to add to their lead and they closed out the scoring with a perfectly placed goal three minutes later.
“We played a good team without any subs,” Gallagher said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this, but we played pretty even for the first 25 or 30 minutes. We’ve got a lot to move forward with. We’ve got some things to work on in practice, but I liked what I saw today.”
Cardinal had several opportunities to cut into Badger’s lead.
“That was the most opportunities we’ve had this season,” Gallagher said. “It easily could have been a 3-3 game. Anna (Blubaugh) could have had three goals. They were right there. She just has to find the corners.”
Gallagher was pleased with the team’s effort, especially on offense.
“Our forwards and mids finally saw some good things happen,” he said. “They were trying to find runs and trying to see runs.”
Cardinal hosts Garrettsville Garfield on Monday.