It took just 36 minutes into the first game of the season for the Bret Harte girls’ soccer team to score more goals than they did the entire 2021 spring campaign.
At the end of 80 minutes, the Bullfrogs had four goals to their name, which is twice as many as they scored in nine games last year. Bret Harte opened the 2021-22 winter season with an impressive 4-1 victory over Weston Ranch Friday night at Dorroh Field in Angels Camp.
Following the three-goal victory—which was the first Bullfrog win since Jan. 7, 2020—Bret Harte head coach Jessica Bowman had no problem letting her team know how proud and impressed she was with what they showed her on the field.
“We played beautifully tonight,” Bowman said. “It was the best that I’ve seen the team play in the three years that I’ve been coaching. They did exactly what we’ve been working on in practice. We were communicating well and we kept our attitudes really positive, which is one of the most important things to me. It’s not so much about the results, but it’s about playing well together as a team and keeping good spirits and good sportsmanship on the field. I was so, so proud of the girls tonight.”
The Bullfrogs didn’t waste any time putting a shot into the back of the Weston Ranch goal. Five minutes into the game, freshman Sophia Keirns recorded her first high school goal, which gave Bret Harte an early 1-0 lead.
“It was amazing,” Keirns said about not only scoring her first goal, but scoring in her first game. “I had a breakaway and right at the end, a girl caught my leg right as I let the ball go and I was shocked that it went in.”
Bret Harte’s second goal wasn’t scored exactly the way Bowman drew it up. Rubi Rodriguez sent a corner kick flying into the box and the ball bounced past the Weston Ranch goalie without being touched by a Bret Harte player for the second goal of the night.
With a 2-0 lead, the Bret Harte defense prevented Weston Ranch from cutting into the lead. Late in the opening half, the visitors took multiple shots at the Bret Harte goal, but goalie Emily Terry didn’t allow anything past her and kept Weston Ranch off the board.
“Emily has improved phenomenally as the years have gone on,” Bowman said about her goalie. “She’s quite tall, which obviously is a huge asset to have in the goal. I’m really proud of her. She had 13 incredible saves tonight. Weston Ranch had some strong shots and she was just a rock star back there.”
Bret Harte got its third goal with four minutes to play in the half. Senior Trianna Jordan was awarded a penalty kick and she didn’t miss. Jordan blasted a shot into the corner of the net to put the Bullfrogs up 3-0.
“I was thinking that it’s just a pass to the corner,” Jordan said about her strategy of attempting the penalty kick.
The opening half ended with Bret Harte leading 3-0. Playing with a lead took a lot of the pressure off of Bret Harte and that felt good to Keirns, one of the youngest players on the field.
“You don’t have as much weight on your shoulders,” Keirns said about playing with the lead. “I’ve been on teams where you don’t do so well in the beginning and being ahead makes a big difference. It was really good to feel that.”
Bret Harte got its final goal of the night six minutes into the second half. Jordan took a deep shot from the middle of the field to record her second goal of the game. After being part of a team that only scored two times in nine games, Jordan was pleased with the four-goal evening.
“It’s really nice because last year, we hardly scored any goals,” Jordan said. “It was awesome to go out there and actually score goals.”
Weston Ranch scored its only goal with 26 minutes to play, with a shot that tipped off the fingers of Terry. Bret Harte’s defense played tough the rest of the game, which included more difficult saves from Terry.
Bowman knows that there are many more games yet to be played and that one win won’t determine anything. However, it has been such a long time since her team walked off the field victorious, she’ll welcome any opportunity for her players to build some confidence.
“It’s important for our psyche, our team morale and building each other up,” Bowman said about gaining confidence early in the season. “Not getting down on each other is paramount to our performance as a team. We are talking kindly to each other at practice and on the field in games, which is really important. Regardless of the outcome of the game, supporting each other and being there for one another both in the hallways at school and on the field is so important to a team. I think we are already off to a better start this year, which is wonderful.”