WOODSTOCK – Even though the match ended with the same result, Central’s girls soccer team was pleased with the improvements they saw on Wednesday night.
The Falcons and Turner Ashby ended in a 0-0 tie for the second time this season. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie on March 12.
“We improved from the previous games,” Central coach Kim Dellinger said. “We played them earlier this season and it was more of a defensive battle. This time we had a little bit more offense to go with it. I was happy with the way we looked. I think we’re a young team. And I think you can see the development that’s starting to improve with movement. And we’re starting to gel a little bit.”
The Falcons outshot Turner Ashby, 15-11, in the contest. Central had a couple of good scoring opportunities but wasn’t able to get the ball in the back of the net.
Central junior forward Hannah Dellinger had the majority of the team’s shots but couldn’t quite finish at the net. Hannah Dellinger is the team’s top returning scorer from last year. She’s still looking for her first goal this season but said she feels confident the goals will come.
“It’s been a little frustrating, but I know that sometime this season they’re going to hit,” Hannah Dellinger said. “And I just need to keep taking those shots.”
One constant this season has been the play of the defense. The Falcons have allowed just 16 goals in seven games, seven of which came to Handley in a game early in the season.
Central senior goalkeeper Kendall Herbaugh said she’s been very pleased with the play of the defense, which includes some younger players.
“We’ve always had a really strong defense,” Herbaugh said. “And last year we lost just about everyone except for Gracie (Foltz), Nadia (Matthews) and Summer (Sypolt). So for these younger girls to come in and step up. I’ve loved the work they’ve done with me. And we’ve all really worked together and kind of gelled really well together.”
Probably the best scoring chance for either team came in the overtime period. Herbaugh came out of the net to play a ball but it got past her. Matthews was able to beat several Turner Ashby players to the ball and kick the ball out of bounds.
“That’s what I really love about my defense is I know that they have my back the second I’m stepping out of that goal,” Herbaugh said. “They know I have their backs the whole time. And I really trust them to have mine as well.”
Herbaugh, who had six saves in goal, was replaced in goal by Laura Spackman for the last three minutes of overtime. Herbaugh then moved to forward to try to ignite the Falcons’ offense.
Earlier this season, Herbaugh scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to lift the Falcons past Fort Defiance. Herbaugh has Central’s only goals this season.
“It was really an ‘oh my gosh moment’ because I’ve never scored — it was my first time (scoring) on the varsity level,” she said. “And just being able to pull through for my teammates was really big for me.”
The Falcons have shown steady improvement throughout the year. The Falcons gave up only four goals to Handley the second time they played them, after giving up seven the first time. They also hung with Class 2 powerhouse George Mason, losing 3-0, last week. That is the only Bull Run District game they have played.
Kim Dellinger said that he expects his young squad, which has just two seniors to go with a combined seven freshman and sophomores, to keep making steady improvements as they play the rest of their district season.
“I think that we’re always progressing,” Kim Dellinger said. “I think we will progress as the season goes. I think each game you’ll see more progression and the players working together a little bit more. I think we’re as ready as we’re going to be (for district play) with the team that we have. I just think the team you see now won’t be the team that you see at the end of the season. I think they’ll be better, not that I think they’re bad now. I see them improving each game and it makes me happy.”