BRISTOL - Through its first eight games, the Bristol Central girls soccer team hadnâ€™t had much trouble on the defensive end of the field, but the offense has been an issue.
With new starting goalkeeper, junior Liz Hintz, the Rams allowed 14 goals in their first eight games this season, which is an improvement from last season under starter Aubrey Kelley.
Hintz has been strong and it showed against Bristol Eastern last week, with 13 saves in the contest against an offense that presents scoring threats such as Myah Craze, Kailey Laprise, Leah Policarpio and Ciara Collins.
The new goalkeeping duo of Hintz and backup Haley Riley has been progressing over the course of the season, something Bristol Central head coach Ginny Godbout stressed before the year started.
While true, thereâ€™s always more to be desired and thatâ€™s no exception for the pair of junior keepers.
â€śItâ€™s been a work in progress and itâ€™s been tough because neither one of the girls had any varsity experience and thatâ€™s always tough when you throw them into the fire. But theyâ€™ve both been working hard and weâ€™ve got some work to do but theyâ€™re definitely hanging in there and theyâ€™re trying to do everything they possibly can. Once you get that experience you then feel a little bit more comfortable and that definitely is working for us.â€ť
Itâ€™s not all on the goalkeeping, though, and much of the Ramsâ€™ success on defense can be attributed to the play of Erika Santilli, Faith Roy, Morgan Patnode, Lily Hansen and Maddie Ross.
Santilli, Roy and Hansen were all key defenders for Bristol Central on last yearâ€™s tournament team.
â€śThey are just a wall back there and to have so many different people that we had to face [on Eastern] we just kept battling back and battling back,â€ť Bristol Central head coach Ginny Godbout said. â€śI donâ€™t know how many times we had to make runs to because theyâ€™re fast, I gotta give them credit, theyâ€™re quick up top. I give all the credit in the world to our four defenders for really hanging in there and being a wall many times when we needed it.â€ť
With strong goalkeeping and the experienced defense in the back, Bristol Central feels confident in its ability to slow down opposing offenses like it did to Bristol Eastern, allowing just one goal.
But the one win on the season has been a reflection of the inexperience on the Rams, offensively.
Sophomore Jenna Lowe and freshmen Hannah Aldieri, Ashley Crumrine and Ross are all being relied on offensively and up to this point in the season, Bristol Central has just 11 goals, five of which came in the win against New Britain.
Offensive progress is going to be crucial in the Ramsâ€™ final games of the regular season, as the defense continues to be the anchor of the team.