By Greg Gulas
Three years ago, Josh MacMillan assumed the reins of the Boardman girls soccer program knowing full well that the Spartans wouldn’t allow very many easy goals with Camille Holzschuh between the pipes.
On Tuesday at Dave Pavlansky Field, Poland found out exactly how stingy Hulzschuh can be.
Cara Higgins and Cassie Stitt each scored a goal while Holzschuh rejected all eight Poland shots as the Spartans posted a 2-0 victory over the Bulldogs in an All-American Conference, intra-division clash.
It was the second win in three tries for Boardman (2-1) and their second consecutive shutout.
Poland (0-2) fell for the second time by a 2-0 count.
“The defense in front of me has played extremely well,” Holzschuh said. “We’ve made great strides from the preseason.
“We learned a lot from our season opening loss to Hudson,” she said. “As long as we work together, good things will happen and we’ve seen that over the past two games.”
Higgins got the Spartans on the board first, notching her initial goal of the campaign at 30:45 of the opening period.
It turned out to be the game-winner for the Spartans.
“Cassie [Stitt] tried to follow up her shot, but headed it back to me and I left-footed it into the right side of the goal,” Higgins said. “Our game plan was to stay together and just work together as a team, also playing simple and smart the entire game.”
Stitt’s goal proved to be the added insurance when she scored at 15:10 of the opening frame.
“My goal came off of one of Camille’s punts,” Stitt said. “It bounced high, I headed it and it blew past a Poland defender.
“Their goalkeeper [Rachel Pugh] came out, I hit it and it made its way to the back of the net on the right side.”
MacMillan called the win a complete team effort.
“Defenders don’t usually get praise, but all of them played exceptionally well tonight,” MacMillan said. “Depth-wise our numbers are low. We dress several from our junior varsity team and everyone matters.
“I’ve always felt that Camille was the best goalkeeper in the area ever since I got the job,” he said.
“Like Camille, our backline is to be commended for their play tonight as well.”
The Spartans held a 13-8 shot advantage and their defense has left the Bulldogs still searching for their first tally of the season.
“We had a couple of breakdowns while Boardman was very aggressive out there,” Bulldogs head coach John Cavalier said. “When teams push us around, we find ourselves getting out of our comfort zone.
“Our offense has had a hard time getting going thus far and when you lose the battle in the middle of the field, you tend to lose the game.”
Cavalier lauded both goalies, but sees light at the end of the tunnel despite two shutouts to start the season.
“Camille is one of the very best goalkeepers in the area, but don’t forget about the fine job that our goalie, Rachel Pugh, did tonight as well,” Cavalier said.
“As long as we move the ball better, we’ll play better and be just fine.”