Swanton girls soccer got a pair of goals from freshman Bridget Harlett, as well as another assisted by Harlett to defeat Van Buren 3-0 in the opening game of the season on Friday.
“They are a good team and we beat them. We played very very well,” said Bulldog head coach Jim Dickman on the win.
The first Swanton score of the night came not even four minutes into the contest when Harlett converted a pass from senior Taylor Pelland.
Van Buren tried to answer at the 30:27 mark of the first half when Taylor Gilliland came open on the left side, but her shot had too much leg and went over the bar.
It appeared as if the Bulldogs had tacked on another with 18 minutes remaining in the half. However, Shae Hollowell’s shot which hit the top post and looked to have fallen behind the goal line, was ruled to not have crossed the line and the Black Knights’ defense quickly cleared it.
Pelland put a shot toward the net from about 15 yards out with 2:54 to go, only to have it blocked up over the net by Van Buren goalie Marly McCartney.
The Dogs, however, added to their lead roughly 1:30 later when a pass from Pelland found the head of Harlett who got it to the back of the net to make it 2-0 at the intermission.
“That’s why she is on the varsity squad,” said Dickman of Harlett’s play. “From what we saw in preseason, that’s what we expected from her.”
“Hopefully we see a lot more of her this year.”
Swanton out shot Van Buren 6-1 in the first half, and while those numbers did grow closer after the break, the Dogs maintained the shut out the entire game.
“They lock it down pretty good,” said Dickman of his team’s defense. “They did last year quite a few times, they’ll do that a lot this year. They are hard to get around.”
The Knights did have some opportunities in the second, most notably a straight-on shot by Gilliland which was scooped up by Swanton goalie Amber Torres with 20:35 left in the game.
Pelland had a pair of shots in the final 20 minutes but could not score. It was not until 6:31 remained when the Dogs relentless effort on the offensive side resulted in the game’s final goal.
It came on a redirect pass by Harlett to Erica Keller who scored from the left side. The goal was “icing on the cake” as Dickman put it, as it gave the Dogs some insurance.
Swanton, after traveling for their first road contest today at Ottawa-Glandorf, returns home to take on Bryan on Thursday in the second game of a boys and girls doubleheader.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010