With 11 starters from last year's state playoff team lost to graduation, one might think the Westminster Owls' season would get off to a slow start.
The ninth-ranked Owls improved their record to 3-0 last night with a 1-0 win over visiting C. Milton Wright.
Jen Markowitz scored the game's only goal with 11:37 remaining in the second half off a feed from Mellissa Sell right in front of Mustangs goalie Janine DeBellis.
The Owls controlled most of the action in the first half, owning most of the territorial edge, but were unable to get a shot off on DeBellis.
The Owls' first shot didn't come until the 26:35 mark of the second half, and the Owls frustration continued to grow until Markowitz took the short pass from Sell and pounded it into the back of the cage. It came after a minute of constant pressure from the Owls.
"Today was a little frustrating for us, particularly that first half," said Westminster co-coach Sue Hooper.
"We get off to the slow starts because these kids are young and still learning to play with one another. Not only did we lose 11 starters, but we also have only five seniors. They are working hard, improving every game and we're 3-0, so we're pretty pleased."
C. M. Wright (0-2) never got a shot off against Westminster goalie Andrea Kirby, largely because the Owls' strong offense did not allow the Mustangs to get out of their end.
The Mustangs' best chance came seven minutes into the game, when forward Diana Rice beat a couple of defenders, but was unable to get off a shot.
"They have to learn to maintain momentum throughout the whole game," said C. M. Wright coach Maria Wehage.
"We play a lot of tough teams early on from out of the county, which should help make us a better team when we start the county schedule. Playing a team like Westminster helps give us an idea on some things we have to work on. The basic things hurt us today, like not marking in the circle and not keeping our sticks down on the ground."
The Owls were relentless on offense after making it 1-0, putting seven more shots on DeBellis and, more importantly, not allowing the Mustangs' offense to become involved when they needed to most.
"The kids knew they weren't playing very well in the first half. We were playing too much outside the circle," Hooper said.
"We told them at halftime to work the ball inside and switch fields more, and when they started changing direction, it threw their defense off."