MIDDLEFIELD—Cardinal’s girls’ soccer team was missing a couple of key players and that cost the Huskies as they fell to visiting Bristol on Monday, 5-1.
With the heat index soaring into the triple digits, the Huskies played with limited substitutions and did their best to contain the Panthers. Senior co-captain Rachel Goodridge left the game with an injury midway through the first half and Bristol capitalized by scoring three goals to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room.
“They did everything they could,” said Cardinal coach Brian Gallagher of the Huskies. “It was 0-0 and Rachel Goodridge goes down, the heart of our defense, and they scored three goals when she’s off the field. You can’t replace the heart she plays with at center mid with Sydney Spitler, my two captains. When those two are together, it’s very hard to get past them.”
Bristol scored all three first half goals in an eight-minute stretch.
“We kind of deflate when we get scored on first,” Gallagher said.
The Panthers scored two more goals in the middle of the second half and Cardinal’s Anna Blubaugh closed out the scoring with her breakaway goal with 1:18 remaining in the game.
Blubaugh had several breakaways but often found herself facing three or four Bristol defenders.
“It’s one on three,” Gallagher said. “We’ve been preaching to push up and they’re slowly starting to get it. Our through balls needed to be a little quicker. They’re there and it’s open. Anna plays her heart out. It’s a given that no one has the energy that Anna has at the end of every game. She does cross country and soccer and plays 80 minutes. It’s hard to replace.”
That goal left the Huskies with some positive momentum heading into their Chagrin Valley Conference game against Beachwood on Thursday.
The Huskies also gained some valuable experience as several inexperienced players saw extended minutes against the Panthers.
“A lot of the new girls stepped up,” Gallagher said. “That was the best game that I’ve seen Lexi Simak play. She has really improved and hopefully, by year’s end we’ll have her around and we can get a couple wins somewhere along the way.”