If there is one thing that the Crook County Cowgirl soccer team has learned from the opening week of the season, it is that they may have difficulty scoring goals.
Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Destanie Johnson, the team looked disciplined on Thursday at the Sisters Jamboree, but were unable to score as they dropped a pair of 30-minute matches.
Still, Johnson was pleased with the effort that she saw from her team at the jamboree.
"We have had a lot of new players that have come out that maybe haven't played in a few years," she said. "So it was good to be able to move them all around and see where they all fit. I learned a lot and I think the girls are finally starting to make the connections."
In their opening match of the jamboree, the Cowgirls gave up three goals to La Pine while struggling to get the ball out of their own end.
Then in the nightcap, the Cowgirls gave up three first-half goals to the Sisters Outlaws. Once again, Crook County was unable to effectively generate any offense, however, in the second half they did hold the Outlaws scoreless.
Johnson noted that the team was missing a few players who have more experience, so once they are on the field, the team will become much more experienced.
"I think today was really crucial because I got to see everybody in different positions," she said. "I got to see them try to execute what we have been working on in practice and I absolutely believe that we made progress. I think the second half showed that."
Following Thursday's jamboree, the team had just one day of practice before traveling to South Albany for their opening match of the season.
Once again, the team struggled offensively as they were blanked 10-0 by the Redhawks.
The Cowgirls have spent the first two weeks of practice concentrating on conditioning and basic skills and Johnson believes that it is going to take some time for the team to absorb the new system.
"We've been focused a lot on conditioning," she said. "We've been focused a lot on movement with the ball and pass and go and to not just stand there. So my goal is to see a lot of connecting passes. I want to see a lot more crosses and through balls to the attackers."
Johnson added that one of the team's current weaknesses is communication.
"My girls don't talk enough on the field," she said. "I think if we keep running the drills that we are running and keep adding some more complex stuff to these drills as time goes on and they understand the fundamentals, I think that we are going to be able to take it to the next level."
The Cowgirls will play their first home match of the season on Thursday when they host the Madras White Buffalos in a 3 p.m. match. The team then has more than a week to practice before they travel to La Pine on Saturday, Sept. 14 for a 3 p.m. match with the Hawks.
The Cowgirls are a young team with just two seniors on their current roster.
Those seniors, Vanessa Martinez and Mariah Cannon, will be relied on for leadership. Other players with previous experience include Teagan Freeman, Grace Slawter, Alena McCabe Emma Bales and Grace Brooks. The team currently has four freshmen on the varsity roster as well as sophomore Messina McClellan, who has switched from volleyball to soccer.
"We want to win," Johnson said. "We are coming out to win, but our goal is to learn how to play the game and to do it the right way."
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