Winfield’s Lady Warriors fought hard against the deadly Orchard Farm Lady Eagles on Tuesday, March 26, and though the offense on Winfield’s goal was unrelenting, the girls kept an aggressive defense going through the full game.

Senior Maci Dixon played a solid 80 minutes as Winfield’s goalkeeper, said coach James Gorski, making 22 saves in the effort, “several of which helped make sure the game didn’t end a bit earlier than scheduled.”

Dixon, a returning starter from last year, is growing in confidence on the field.

“Those first four games we had didn’t get [her] much of a test, and I told her today, not only are you going to get a bigger quantity of shots, but a higher quality,” Gorski said. “Which she did.”

“She kept us in it,” he added. “There was a couple that a lesser goalie probably lets in and we go home early today, so her voice from behind, it’s getting more confident and she’s getting a little better skill.” 

The match was the first GAC North Conference game of the season.

It began on a sour note, with the Orchard Farm getting a goal in the opening minute of the game. While the ball stayed in Winfield’s backfield, the Lady Warriors held the line for another 20 minutes.

Orchard Farm scored a second goal, and went on a streak, heading into the break six points over Winfield. 

The second 40-minute section went better for Winfield, and though the Lady Warriors never scored, they held Orchard farm to only one goal in the last 40 minutes, ending the game 7-0.

“Tough team,” Gorski said about Orchard Farm. “They’ve been getting better over the years, and they’ve got a really strong youth freshman, sophomore class.” 

The Winfield girls are working to get into game condition, and Gorski said he plans to have the team watch more game film to see the plays from different angles, and work on communicating more effectively.

“Because when we were missing our marks, and they [Orchard Farm] were sliding past us, we weren’t jumping into that quick enough,” Gorski said. “And I think the voice really would help. Obviously some speed would help too, some endurance would help, some lack of injuries, but those are things we can’t just hope for.”

The team has suffered a number of injuries already, but Gorski said the team will just have to push through regardless.

“Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Do what you can with what you’ve got, where you are,’ and that’s what we’re going to try and do,” Gorski said. 

Between last Tuesday and the team’s next games, Gorski said he wanted to improve the communication aspect; he said its something that definitely can be fixed within a week.

“I think that’s the first, easiest place to accomplish something worthwhile, and then we’re going to continue to work on how formations can play against different formations,” Gorski said.

The technical stuff will be built along the way, and Gorski said he also wants to work with the girls on containing their defense and not overcommitting. 

“Because a team like Orchard Farm, they have just little moves here, a juke there and they’re past you,” Gorski said. “So we’re going to work on trying to bolster up the defense and prepare for some tougher games to come.” 

The loss to Orchard Farm puts Winfield’s overall season record to 2-3, and begins the GAC North Conference record at 0-1. 

Winfield plays next on Monday, April 1 at 6 p.m. when they host O’Fallon Christian.

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