PANAMA CITY — Prior to the start of this girls soccer season, head coach Marek Betkowski described his squad as “probably the youngest Mosley girls varsity team ever.”
Either his players weren’t listening, or they’ve decided to write their own script.
The Dolphins dispatched a rebuilding Rutherford squad 8-0 Tuesday evening at Tommy Oliver Stadium. While the outcome wasn’t unexpected, and matched the result when the teams met last month, it improved Mosley to 10-1-2 thus far this season.
That might raise a few eyebrows elsewhere in the Panhandle, especially in District 2-4A where the Dolphins are unbeaten, but has been taken in stride by a roster featuring only 30 percent seniors.
Midfielder Brie Campbell is one of them, competing on her fourth Dolphin varsity squad since being called up as a freshman. She said the instant success hasn’t been too bewildering.
“I am not surprised because they are a very talented group of ladies,” Campbell said of the underclassmen. “I would be surprised, but they are very mature.”
Youth was served early against Rutherford, 4-8-1, which if anything even is younger than Mosley and already has surpassed last season’s win total. The first two goals were scored by freshmen, Jordan Lewis gaining separation on a fancy spin move in the fifth minute and Taylor Hallmon on a penalty kick in the 10th.
Campbell said that it was premature to compare this team to the previous Mosley teams she has competed on.
“I do think we can go just as far as before,” she said, the Dolphins reaching the Final Four during her career. “I think we’re closer this year than we’ve been in the past. We kind of tried to get together (prior to the opener) to become closer.”
Whatever the case, it has worked, Mosley’s lone defeat 3-2 to American Delray in a tournament in November. The Dolphins have trailed in only two matches all season.
They led Rutherford 7-0 by halftime and completed the mercy-rule victory on an own goal in the 43rd minute. Otherwise seven different players scored for the Dolphins, with Haley Austill the lone senior in the group. Rachel Bates, Kaylin Thomas, Lindsey Tew and Mariah Rinehart got the other tallies.
Keeper Sammii Boardway had a quiet evening while recording the shutout.
The Rams were outshot 17-1 in the first half, freshman keeper Hannah Gildner making five saves for Rutherford. She also had the Rams’ best scoring opportunity when she came off the back line in the second half and in the first minute an unforced error by the Dolphins left her alone, 10 yards in front of Boardway.
Gildner’s shot sailed over the crossbar. Rutherford’s only other shot was on a direct kick by Cheyenne Beck in the first half that missed wide right, Beck also was busy as the last line of defense in front of Gildner.
Earlier in the first half Portia Mixon sent in Kiaya Henry behind Mosley’s defense, but the pass was a little long and Boardway was able to come out and divert the threat.
It should be noted that Betkowski’s preseason comment on the Dolphins’ expectations somewhat was taken out of context. He quickly added, “Plenty of talent, but not very much of experience at the high school level. This will not stop us from being very competitive this season.”