Soccer team learns in loss to Vanguard

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By Jenna McKenna

Williston soccer is in a rebuilding year, long on energy but short on experience. Saturday's 7-0 loss to area power Ocala Vanguard came partly at the hands of the Knights' fierce reputation.

"We got a little psyched out, because it's Vanguard, and they're a 5A team," said Lady Devils' head coach Max Aguirre.

The Devils return only five veterans, of whom only seniors Susie Smith and Abby Rodriguez were starters last year. "We're real young," Aguirre stressed.

Nevertheless, despite the lopsided outcome, Williston showed signs of what they were learning to do. Late in the first half, down 3-0, they seemed to recover from the early shock of Vanguard's quick scoring and pinned the ball in the Knights' half, working the ball toward the goal again and again. In the second half, down by five, they again came close to scoring, and held off the Vanguard attack much more effectively.

"We definitely played better in the second half," said Aguirre.

The Knights had the advantage of experience, and played very well together. They simply shelled Devils' keepers Roxanne Krause and Sarah Jones, both of whom saved many balls, but just couldn't get them all.

Smith and Chelsie Wright worked hard to keep the ball moving forward, and Rachel Brannon and Sarah Markham sweated out the defense. Lucia Bernal led several attacks on the Vanguard goal, but ultimately none of the Devils shots found net.

Williston drops to 2-6 on the season, and is 1-3 in the district, but Aguirre noted that most of their first half losses have been close games. A lot of our girls havent played before, so for them, theyve been playing soccer for about eight weeks, he said.

Their trial by fire should make them a much tougher, more effective team down the back half of the season.

Williston hosts P.K. Yonge Friday at 4:45 p.m.

Last weeks postponed game at Bronson has been rescheduled for Jan. 9 at 6 p.m.