SUTTER CREEK – The Bret Harte High School girls’ soccer team has played 320 minutes of Mother Lode League soccer and have yet to score a goal. Bret Harte has not scored a league goal since battling Amador to a 1-1 tie on March 18, 2021, in the short nine-game spring season.
Since that tie against Amador, the Bullfrogs have gone 11 league games in a row without putting a ball into the back of the net. The 11th of those games came in a 3-0 shutout against Amador, Thursday night in Sutter Creek.
At this point on the schedule, the Mother Lode League season is halfway finished, although the Bullfrogs still have a postponed game against the Summerville Bears to play. With the end of the season quickly approaching, Bret Harte head coach Jessica Bowman knows how big it would be to her team to finally break the scoreless streak and she’s confident that it’ll happen sooner, rather than later.
“There has been so much buildup and anticipation and I just feel like it’s coming,” Bowman said. “We had the penalty shot tonight and I thought it was bound to happen right then and it didn’t. We are waiting and are almost halfway through league now, but it’s bound to happen in the second half. I can feel it in my bones.”
Freshman Sophia Keirns is starting to feel the pressure to score but likes that her team does a good job of not dwelling on the past and not looking too far into the future.
“It can add extra pressure, so we try to just focus on one game,” Keirns said.
On Thursday night, Bowman might as well have changed her name to Dr. Frankenstein, as she had to piece together a roster that had many players playing in positions they had never played before, strictly out of necessity. Bret Harte’s roster was already thin, with one of its two captains unable to suit up. Within the first few minutes of the game, Bowman lost two players for the night.
One of those players who got hurt was her second co-captain. The player took a hard fall and was slow to get to her feet and appeared to have injured her head. After walking to the Bret Harte bench, she told Bowman that she felt fine and was ready to return to the field. However, an official informed Bowman that until the player was examined by a medical professional and cleared concussion protocol, she was not allowed to play. With no medical professional on site, she did not play the rest of the game.
“That’s a frustrating situation that we’ve dealt with in the past and that we had to deal with tonight,” Bowman said. “My player was feeling absolutely fine but wasn’t allowed to return to the game and that was super frustrating. That one player coming out tonight led to both of my captains missing the game tonight. We ended up playing the game with no captains on the field tonight, which made things really hard. Hopefully, they’ll both be back in action on Tuesday.”
The Bullfrogs (0-3-1 MLL) gave up two goals in the first half and one in the second. However, one of Amador’s goals was inadvertently scored by a Bret Harte player on a corner kick. After Sonora scored 11 goals two days earlier on the Bullfrogs, Bowman was extremely pleased with the play from her goalie, Emily Terry, for allowing only two real goals all night against Amador.
“I really admire her confidence,” Bowman said about Terry. “She tends to not hold onto things or to negativity. She goes out there and starts her day over again. I’m really proud of her. I look forward to seeing her perform equally as well next week.”
Thursday’s matchup was originally set to be played in December but was postponed due to inclement weather. Bret Harte and Amador will battle again on Jan. 18 at Dorroh Field in Angels Camp. And after seeing the effort her team put forth in the first meeting, Bowman is confident that her Bullfrogs will put up another good fight.
“I thought it was actually a pretty evenly played match,” Bowman said. “We kept shooting and nothing was going in. We had some really decent shots and sadly, a PK (penalty kick) that didn't go in as well. I thought it was an evenly played game and I can’t wait to play them again on Tuesday.”