Playing under .500 ball, the girl’s varsity young soccer team at Bishop Ford High School has one goal in mind; that is, to improve as the season progresses, be competitive, hopefully battle back from a slow beginning and challenge for a contending spot in the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association.
After four games, they defeated St. Savior, and lost to St. Edmond’s, Bishop Kearney, and Fontbonne.
One of the youngsters on this squad is Zyaire Linton, a sophomore with only one year of experience behind her. She and some of her teammates also competed on an under .500 record squad last fall when she saw action at numerous positions, including defense and midfield as a substitute.
“We have to work at (our positions),” Linton said. “We feel pretty good (out on the field). The teams in our league are very good . We’re a growing team and we’re working at it. Defense is my strength to this team.”
All Linton is trying to do is the best that she can to improve the team and herself in the remaining games.
Last fall Linton came to Bishop Ford without any soccer experience and decided to try out for the team. She didn’t play this sport in her early years.
“I just wanted to play soccer in high school,” the 15-year-old Linton said. “I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”
“Linton is a second year player and has come a long way from last year,” said head coach Liz Wade, who is assisted by Peter Goetten. “(When she joined the team) she didn’t know how to play soccer. She has come along, learned the game, certainly improved, and does her job on the field.
“All the players have to work on their ball handling(skills), and speed.”
In their last game before press time, Ford faced a Fontbonne team that overall seems to be one of the better ones in the league.
“The players on Fontbonne pass, shoot and defend very well,” continued Wade. “They are a very nice team to watch.”
On the other hand, Ford is very young and is building for the future.
“We’ll have the girls for another three years,” Wade added. “Most never played soccer before. If I can get them a little faster and show a little bit more ball handling, they’ll be a lot better next year.
“Most of the girls are two or three sport athletes. I like the idea that they play sports. This makes them harder to train for one individual sport because you.only get them for a certain amount of weeks or months and then they go to another team. I’m also a softball coach.”
Linton is very impressed with the way Fontbonne plays.
“They’re very good and well-seasoned,” she went on.
In the game against Fontbonne at Lief Ericksson Park, the hosts were led by the goaltending of Kristina Mandola, and the goal scorers of Kate Henderson, last year’s player of the year in Brooklyn-Queens; Kriseiana Padavona, and Rachel Gersh, who each scored three goals; Courtney Lind, Cindy Henderson, and Amanda Piekarz, who each scored one goal.
Fontbonne has all the ingredients to repeat last year’s performance.
“We’re very satisfied how we’re running the ball and how we’re playing,” Coach Victor Popovsky, who is carrying a roster of 26 players, said. “We’re doing a great job of playing as a team. We have a lot of communication and chemistry. And we score goals. We have a lot of strengths-offense, midfield, defense and with the goalie.”