Sure, it was a loss, but Jamestown Community College women's soccer coach Dana Shelters can't help but feel encouraged.
Downright pleased, even.
"I'm very happy with the way things went," Shelters said Saturday afternoon after his Jayhawks absorbed a 3-1 NJCAA Region 3 Division III defeat to the defending Division III national champions, Mohawk Valley CC. "We would have liked a win, but realistically we learned.
Jamestown Community College keeper Haley Sigular makes a save during Saturday’s NJCAA?Region 3 Division III women’s soccer game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
"And we're learning more every day. I thought we outplayed them for most of the game. We gave them all they could handle, we just made three mistakes and they made us pay."
It was Jamestown's fourth season-opening defeat at the hands of Mohawk Valley in as many tries.
"If there's one thing our freshmen need to understand," Shelters said, "it's that if you make any mistake in a game at this level most of the time it'll end up in the back of your net."
Jamestown's first mistake - and only as far as the scoreboard was concerned - of the opening half came in the 11th minute, as Mohawk Valley's Caitlynn Adams performed a nifty spin move in the corner and then, using her physicality to shug off the last defender that remained, finished from a little more than 12 yards out.
Adams would manage a similar feat 39 minutes later, at the 50-minute mark, when she aggressively gained control of the ball and laced a shot into the upper 90, making the score 2-0.
Mohawk Valley would tally once more in the 77th, pushing the score to 3-0.
At that point, it would have been easy for JCC, given its youth and inexperience, to let things get out of hand against the experienced and, given their results last season, very successful visitors, but instead the Jayhawks buckled down.
"We backed away physically, got pushed around a bit at times and let them win a few," Shelters said, "but then we regrouped and we started winning them back."
Key to the rearguard action was Haley Sigular, the veteran goaltender who made a number of sprawling saves throughout the contest - but especially in the second half - to keep things close.
Sigular finished with 10 saves, including a number that came from point-blank range.
"Haley saved our bacon a couple of times," Shelters said with a laugh. "She did a great job in the net, and that's why I started her because she's got that experience."
And while Sigular and the defense managed to batten things down at their end, the forward tandem of Sam Mann and Kylie Wilson - dubbed by Shelters, "Thunder and Lightning" because, as he recently noted, "you can't have one without the other" - helped the Jayhawks avoid the shutout and take some much-needed confidence into their next battle.
It was in the 87th minute that Mann, who had received a pass from Wilson, unleashed a shot past opposing goaltender Vanessa Jecko that skipped into the net and put the Jayhawks on the board for the first time this season.
"(That goal) helps so much," Shelters said. "It gives you a lot of confidence going forward. To put all that pressure on them and not get anything out of it, (the loss) would have been a lot tougher to take."
Jamestown will look to record its first victory on Saturday at 1 p.m., when it hosts Monroe CC.