Sep. 22—Oakdale’s girls soccer team has evolved from the defensive-minded style that characterized much of the first decade of the program’s existence.
The Bears do just about everything well now, which explains why they are 5-0 so far this season and have outscored the opposition 21-1 in the process.
In Tuesday night’s 7-1 victory alone over Thomas Johnson at Utica District Park, they scored in a variety of different ways — from long range, off a free kick, making good passes to set up goals — in another commanding performance.
About the only hiccup was a penalty called against them in their own goal box, which allowed TJ’s Chase Borntreger to convert a penalty kick with 18 minutes, 7 seconds to play, marking the first goal Oakdale has allowed all season.
“We’ve got a good mix [of players], from freshmen to seniors,” said Annie Schwarzenberg, who played varsity soccer at Oakdale for four years, spent two seasons coaching the junior varsity team and now is in her first season as the varsity coach.
“We have a lot of players that play a lot of good minutes, and we get contributions from everyone. We don’t have one person scoring all of our goals. All of our games have been a team effort.”
The roll call of goal scorers Tuesday included senior captain Genna Vinal, who notched a pair of goals, including the first one of the game almost five minutes in, senior defenders taylor Bennett and Avery Plate, who each buried shots from more than 30 yards away, and forwards Gwen Ladd, Caroline Atwill and Reagan Plate.
“We have such good chemistry on and off the field,” Vinal said. “Just from the get-go, we have all bonded. We are all friends and inclusive and we love each other like family. I think we bring that into every single thing that we do. I think that’s where we find our success. We all have this bond.”
TJ, meanwhile, is still getting used to playing on its de facto home field.
The Patriots, who were missing three starters due to injuries, haven’t regularly trained or played on turf until now. They are playing on a turf field at Utica District Park while their own turf field back at school is in the process of being completed.
So, they are in the process of adjusting to the faster surface.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time for the chemistry to develop,” TJ coach Mike Heller said. “These games are tough at the beginning, these losses, but I think we just have to keep building. We are going to be better at the end of the season. We have to look at the big picture a little bit with these games.”