STRUTHERS -- The Mooney High girls soccer team's last game of 2004 was a 2-1 Division II playoff overtime loss to Poland on Oct. 30 at the Valley Sports Complex.
The win gave Poland the Division II district championship and ended Mooney's season.
Wednesday, on the same field almost 10 months later, Mooney met Poland again and won, 4-1, in the regular-season opener for both teams.
"I told my girls that this game might mean more for Mooney because we ended their season last year," Poland coach Jim Sutman said.
Mooney coach Alex Simon said, "This proved that our seniors have come along for four years and their leadership has kind of taken hold. They're thinking on their own and doing a lot of things on their own on the field."
Kelli Willis scored twice while Kelly Burke and Alex Sierra had single goals for the Cards who took a 4-0 lead before Maureen Malone tallied for the Bulldogs.
"We feel that if they can win the midfield, then we can move it forward to score," Simon said of the play of Marisa Simon, Sarah Garchar, Brittany Jones and Sierra.
"I think they accomplished that tonight," Alex Simon said. "Their job was to move the ball forward and give Willis and Burke an opportunity to score."
Mooney snapped a scoreless game and took a 3-0 lead in a span of six minutes in the first half.
Burke took a pass in the middle from Sierra on the left wing, then turned, set and kicked the ball right-footed over goalie Samantha Stanich from 30 yards out at 17:56.
Exactly one minute later, Willis made a penalty kick, then followed with Mooney's third goal at 11:40 when she fought her way up the middle, recovered the ball and booted it deflection-style off the crossbar.
Sutman said he thought his girls won the first 20 minutes, then lost some air once the Cardinals got their first goal.
"Those were two beautiful goals, especially the lofted one," Sutman said of Burke's tally into the upper corner of the net. "Both were too high for our 5-2 goalie.
"But give Mooney credit because what we wanted to do was stop one of the big guns like Marisa, which we did, but other people rose up," Sutman said. "That's the sign of a good team when other people can step up and do that. It's early in the season. We got beat by a good team, so I don't feel so bad about it."
Sutman said that his Bulldogs have to work on stopping shots, especially from a distance.
"We do a nice job prohibiting shots inside, but not those 20 to 25 yards out," Sutman said. "Another area to work on is crossing. We're a good crossing team, but Mooney did a nice job. We didn't cross that much.
"Our goal was made on a nice cross," Sutman said of the assist by sophomore Kelly Storkel. "Sometimes we think we have to get way in the corners to cross, when, actually, we could start crossing at midfield."
The teams won't meet at tournament time this year because Poland moved up to Div. I.