BRISTOL — Fifty minutes into the Thursday afternoon battle with visiting Morrisville, Bristol freshman Kiersten Tomlinson started toward the Bulldogs’ cage from about 25 yards out. She didn’t stop until both she and the ball were in the cage.
Score one for the Lady Warriors; Tomlinson’s tally was the game’s only goal, giving Bristol its first win of the season against winless Morrisville.
“I didn’t think it was gonna go in but I just gave it a shot,’ said Tomlinson who, after the game, wore her soil-stained jersey like a badge of honor. “While I hit it, I rolled into the net and got it in.
“This feels great — amazing; it’s the first game we’ve won all season.’
It was a big moment for a freshman — registering the game’s only goal in her team’s first win. After the duel ended however, the significance of the event had not hit her, not yet, anyway.
“She listens to the things we tell her but I’m not sure if she necessarily believes what we tell her as far as her being a very capable athlete,’ said Bristol coach Sue French. “I think today probably helped her to see that maybe what the coach is telling her is true.’
Entering the game winless, Bristol got a boost when it was awarded five corner opportunities in the opening minutes of the contest.
“It gave the girls momentum that they haven’t experienced yet this season,’ added French, who is guiding the Warriors this season with help from Staci Albright, a math teacher at Bristol. “It was a big boost for us.’
While the Warriors out-cornered the visitors 8-1 in the first half, those opportunities were much closer in the second half — 5-3, favor: Bristol — as the Bulldogs surged after the intermission, despite giving up the edge to the Warriors on the scoreboard.
For Morrisville goalkeeper Sidney Knott, who all but stood on her head keeping Bristol off the board through the first 49 minutes of the contest, the battle represented building blocks for her team.
“I think both teams came out aggressively,’ she said. “I think Bristol just beat us on the aggression, really.’
That’s not to say Knott was disappointed in the Bulldogs’ effort.
“This game was amazing. We were hustling, pushing each other up the field,’ said Sidney. “Things the girls never tried before, they did today.’
In addition to her goalkeeping responsibilities, Knott does a fine job keeping her team focused on the field.
“I try to let (my teammates) know where everybody is on the field, let them know when an attacker is coming up,’ explained the keeper.
“I tell everybody to keep their heads up, push through and that we can do it.
“Without communication, it’s really just us running around with our heads cut off.’
Morrisville battled, despite entering the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) duel with eight freshmen in the lineup and without some defenders who sustained injuries in previous matchups. The walking wounded included Shaquala Jones and sweeper Krista Mullaney (broken finger). Meanwhile, midfielder Emily Baus just returned after losing a tooth in a recent loss to Bensalem.
“We have to make due with what we have,’ insisted Knott. “So we try to motivate each other to push it up the field. I think there’s a lack of communication. Other than that, we just need to work on pushing it up the sides more.’
For French, the outcome represented positive affirmation for the Warriors in a season where that has been hard to come by.
“I’m so happy for the girls,’ she said. “In spite of our inexperience, they play very hard every game. It can be very frustrating to do that and not come out with some positives such as a win.
Added Bristol co-captain Katie Morris:
“Our team really came together today. Our long-game passing was good. We really improved; we learned what we were doing wrong.
“This was a building game; we got our confidence.’
And on Tomlinson’s goal:
“She did a great job getting the ball in,’ added Katie. “She was just there in the right place at the right time.’
And of Tomlinson’s head-over-heels bull rush to the Bulldogs’ cage:
“Sometimes, you gotta give it your all — whatever it takes.’
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