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WESTTOWN – It may have taken West Chester Rustin just over 15 minutes to begin gelling on the field, but when they did, the girls soccer team were able to tilt the field in their favor and come away with a 2-0 shutout over Bishop Shanahan in a Ches-Mont League opener for both teams Thursday afternoon.
The sluggish beginning for the Golden Knights was reminiscent to their first game of the season when they lost to Central Bucks East Aug. 30.
“We started slowly, (but) we recovered in this game,” said Rustin head coach Peter Rohall. “It’s a growing activity as you learn how to get ready for a game and get off to a good start.”
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Rustin features a team almost evenly mixed with players of every grade. They are comprised of three freshmen, six sophomores, five juniors and five seniors.
The coaching staff credits some of the slow start to that mingling of players.
“One of my coaches said it the best way,” Rohall said. “We started off as four different classes. You started seeing some of the blending into a team (through the game). We need to possess the ball more.”
The first 15 minutes saw Rustin relying on junior goalkeeper Julie Griesemer to keep them in the game as Bishop Shanahan kept the pressure up.
“Most of the shots Shanahan had were relatively easy saves for our goalkeeper, and we have a good one,” Rohall said. “We’re very fortunate. We gave up a goal on a bouncing ball against C.B. East, but we haven’t given up anything since that.”
Once things began to settle into place for Rustin, senior Mackenzie Moore broke in for a one-on-one against Shanahan’s Joanna Skros and kicked the ball into the left corner of the net, just past the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Margaret Boncek in the 15th minute.
From that moment, Rustin took control of the game and began to frustrate the opposition.
Sophomore Casey Keiser and Moore both had a chance to extend the lead late in the first half and early in the second, respectively, but Boncek came up with the saves.
“Our back line is really tough (but) … their goalkeeper played a really good game,” Rohall said. “She’s a good goalkeeper.”
Though one honest mistake by the goalkeeper essentially put the game just out of reach for Bishop Shanahan.
With the ball wide of the net, Boncek came running out to grab it before Rustin could, but junior Cassie Cheeseman was just a bit faster.
She beat the goalkeeper and powered by her and had a completely empty net to kick the ball in to extend her team’s lead by two in the 73rd minute of the game.
“Kendall (Ammerman) pressured the defender really well and I was able to get it before the goalie did,” Cheeseman said. “I just ran through it and luckily got it in. I almost missed, which would have been really bad.”
The goal was exactly what Rustin needed as Bishop Shannahan had been turning the pressure up in the closing 10 minutes of the game.
“That second goal obviously helped us quite a bit and you have to take advantage of things like that to be successful,” Rohall said. “Shanahan played really tough. It’s a league contest. The Ches-Mont League is always tough. It doesn’t matter who you play.”
The team will use this game as a building block to continue developing together as a cohesive group.
“We’re building a trust with each other and that’s what we need to do,” Rohall said. “We’re just trying to grow every game and trying to get better every game. I’m really proud of them.”