Monday, September 21st, 2009
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cavalier girls pick up a win in first home match
  COLDWATER - The debut season for the Coldwater girls soccer team has been one counted in miles.
Not only miles in the strides the team has made through the season, but, more to the point, miles put on the school bus traveling to matches.
The first five matches this season, the Cavaliers have played on the road, with no true facility in Coldwater to hold them. Among the trips the team has made this season so far have been Van Buren, Napoleon, Bath and Elida with trips to Greenville and Bluffton still on the horizon.
That changed Saturday as the Cavaliers hosted their first girls soccer game, facing the New Knoxville club team.
The day was made brighter as the Cavaliers improved to 2-3-1 on the season with a 3-2 win to avenge an earlier loss to the Rangers.
The game was played in a field near the village offices, a retention field that gave it a bowl-like atmosphere, with hills surrounding the playing area. Even before the game, coach Scott Brinkman was working to put the final touches in setting up the nets properly.
"It's good for their friends to see this," said Brinkman about the importance of having at least one game in town. "It's good for our players because this is the atmosphere we haven't seen yet this year. There were (at least) 200 people out here rooting for us. All these games we've been going to, we'd get a handful of parents to show up. It's good for these kids to see their friends and family members roar them on to victory."
An e-mail by the school this week invited fans to be a part of history and attend the game. Fans, a number of them athletes and coaches from other sports at Coldwater as well as teachers and other school employees, brought lawn chairs or sat on the hills and formed a nice crowd.
"It's really exciting," said Cayla Wood, one of three Cavalier seniors on the roster who got the honor of having a Senior Day before the match. "All week people were talking about it. We asked our friends to come. It was like, everyone is coming. We were excited for us to show everyone what we've been working on."
"It felt like we've been having this sport forever," said senior Katelyn Severt of the crowd support. "The support was awesome for everybody. I think that's what pumped us up."
"I think, regardless of the sport, you're going to get that support here in Coldwater," said Brinkman. "Football game, volleyball game, basketball game, even a soccer game. Given it's 75 (degrees) and sunny, it really helps. You can't ask for better weather. ... Where else can you sit on the ground, get a blanket or lawn chair and watch 80 minutes of soccer. It's the first time people in this community got the opportunity to see this level."
Bedecked in home whites, the Cavaliers gave the fans early excitement as Carly Schlater and Kaitlyn Obringer scored two goals in the first half, but the Rangers also scored twice to make it 2-2 after the first 40 minutes of play.
"I thought the atmosphere was awesome," said senior Brooke Gillis. "I remember the first goal. I was down in the goal area and I saw the crowd go crazy for that first goal. It got me excited."
The Cavaliers gave their fans one last big surprise in the last half of the second half, where Schlater scored her second goal to put Coldwater up 3-2. The Cavaliers had several big chances for insurance, but were able to celebrate as the final horn sounded with the win.
While Brinkman was happy that his team won its home opener, his main focus is building for future play.
"Certainly you play to win, but that's not our number-one priority all the time," said Brinkman. "We want to just continue to improve as soccer players. Our work ethic is what carries us. Skill level isn't where we would like it to be. It's going to be a while before it gets there. But our work ethic carries us there."
The Cavaliers head to Delphos to play St. John's today, then face Celina's junior varsity on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
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