ADAMS Members of South Jeffersons girls soccer team readily admit they dont have a star player yet.
But this suits the Spartans just fine and, with their confidence and balance on the field, theyre off to a perfect start this season.
The Frontier Leagues B Division leader is undefeated at 6-0 overall, 5-0 league, and has made a statement of sorts by winning its first four games against A Division opponents.
South Jefferson coach Terry Burgess said before the season began that his team had no returning all-stars ... and therefore will be looking for players who are willing to become personalities.
When I looked at the schedule and saw we started out with the A schools I knew all four of them are very strong, Burgess said. I was thinking it was possible that we could lose all four games. Theyre are really no easy teams that we play, all of them are pretty good. So far weve been fortunate to beat them all.
Displaying much balance, the Spartans have stormed through the early portion of their schedule by beating bigger schools in the process.
I really enjoy this because we really werent supposed to come out on top like this right away, senior defender Mackenna Goodnough said while the team was practicing in the rain on Tuesday. Were a really young team, but I think weve been playing together so long that weve been playing so well and were just clicking as a team.
After edging Indian River 2-1 in its season opener, South Jefferson blanked reigning A Division champion Watertown, 1-0, then got past Immaculate Heart Central, 2-1, before defeating Carthage, 1-0 last Wednesday.
We werent expected to win all those coach told us those first four games were going to be really hard, senior midfielder and team captain Mallory Davis said. We came out and won them. I had faith in us, I knew we were going to be strong, but I didnt expect us to be that strong. But were doing really well and just have to stick with it.
Its really cool because were young and kind of inexperienced, junior defender Leah Denny said. But were really athletic and were stepping up as a team.
The Spartans havent been an offensive juggernaut thus far this season with only seven goals scored in their first five games.
Im still trying to figure out why and how were (6-0)because weve scored seven goals, Burgess said. And every games been a one-goal game. We keep getting results, which is a good thing, but Im afraid its going to catch up with us.
But South Jefferson has allowed only two goals so far and posted four shutouts, including a 1-0 nonleague victory at Central Square on Monday.
People are stepping up and really doing what they need to do, Denny said. These have been really close games and we know we have to keep working hard because were going to play these teams again.
Junior goalkeeper Jackie Decker has backstopped the defense, comprised of seven defenders who rotate playing time on the field.
We know each others strengths and weaknesses, Goodnough said. Most teams just have one really good player, but we have 18 solid players and we mesh real well. Each of us have our abilities, but were not way better then anybody else.
Such is also the case with the midfield, which is also vital to the teams defensive success.
The strength of this team has been the overall contributions from everybody, Burgess said of his mostly young team that includes just two seniors and seven juniors. Defensively, certainly weve made mistakes, but we do a good job of helping each other out.
South Jefferson is also balanced on offense led by freshman Hayley Maguire and sophomore Courtney Cavellier, who each have tallied three goals and an assist.
Honestly, I think its about how close we are and how well we get along, Davis said. Thats kept us together the most I think being there for each other, supporting each other and knowing that its not about the individual its such a team sport at this point.
The Spartans, who won the division in 2010, are in prime position entering their portion of their schedule against B Division opponents.
Its truly been a team effort as to our success thus far, Burgess concluded. But were still searching for that player or two to step above the pack.