By Colin Harris | Staff writer
Garfield got off to a slow start in its season opener, but a strong second half can make up for some debut jitters.
The G-Men rebounded from a scoreless first half with three goals in the final 40 minutes to pound Waterloo, 3-0 and pick up both its first win of the year, but also a 1-0 start in Portage Trail Conference County Division play.
"I'm happy with how we played overall," Garfield coach Joe Denzinger said. "We controlled most of the game today."
That control began to display itself early into the second half when sophomore Abby Woolard scored in the 50th minute to put the G-Men (1-0, 1-0 PTC County) ahead 1-0 over the host Vikings (0-1, 0-1). Woolard took advantage of a breakway opportunity that drew Waterloo keeper Brianna Ellsworth out of the box, allowing the sophomore to sneak past and find the back of the net.
Woolard's goal snapped a streak of double-digit shots on goal that failed to find the net -- including an 0-9 effort in the first half.
Dezinger said that the G-Men are going to have to work on finding ways to cash in on those opportunities as the season goes on.
"We need to really be able to capitalize better on our shot opportunities," Dezinger said. "When we're going up against teams like Southeast or Rootstown, we won't have as many shots as we did today, so we need to make the ones we get. We can't just give up goal opportunites."
Garfield added to its lead just two minutes later when teammate Megan Kenesky put the G-Men ahead by two goals. The senior captain scored off of a pretty placement of a corner kick opportunity.
Kenesky was back at it in the 76th minute with another goal that helped cushion the lead for the visiting G-Men.
This year's Garfield team features just two seniors and three juniors in the starting lineup. The remaining six positions are taken up by new faces among the sophomore and freshman classes -- a point not lost on Dezinger.
"We have some small things to fix, but overall, I really think we have some awesome pieces here and I'm happy with this team," Dezinger said. "I mean, we're starting two freshman and four sophomores out there and they're playing well."
Taylor Brown had eight saves in net for Garfield, while Ellsworth finished with 12 stops for the host Vikings.