Bethesda-Chevy Chase 1,

Whitman 0

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase girls' soccer team took the field yesterday against visiting Whitman knowing who its top three offensive players were. The Barons also knew those three would not play.

With senior Lily Hitchner and junior Vanessa Newman in Greensboro, N.C., playing in a college showcase and senior Natasha Mann on the bench with a knee injury, Bethesda-Chevy Chase didn't expect to win its season opener with offensive prowess. Instead, the Barons won 1-0 with defensive pressure, hard work and a goal from senior forward Rachel Henry.

"I am overwhelmed right now with excitement," Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coach Rob Kurtz said. "I'm happy because [the win] showed the value of team. It showed how hard work can pay off, and if you can take that level of intensity and add talent to it, we can be a very, very difficult team to beat. We got a goal with hard work."

In her first varsity start, Henry scored the game's only goal in the 52nd minute. She followed a back-pass headed for Whitman's goalkeeper and, when the ball bounced free, Henry put it into the net.

"It was a bit unlucky," Whitman Coach Tony Pykosh said.

But scrappy goal is exactly the type of goal Kurtz wanted and expected.

"We said we were going to get one goal somehow, someway," Kurtz said. "It might not be pretty. . . . That's what we wanted to do."

That goal was all the Barons (1-0) needed, as Kurtz had the team thinking defense first.

"We were playing to be very defensive. We were playing so we wouldn't give up any goals," Kurtz said. "We totally changed our system. You have to take what your personnel gives you."

The Barons, 10-2-2 last season, do not play again until Sept. 14 against Walter Johnson. Whitman, which defeated Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 2-1, last year as part of a 12-3 season, goes to Churchill on Thursday.

"I'm remaining positive," Pykosh said. "I'm confident in this group and I think we're going to do just fine."

Bethesda-Chevy Chase goalie Kaylegh Herrick Reynolds makes save against Whitman. She did not allow a goal. Bethesda-Chevy Chase's Rachel Henry (24) celebrates eventual game-winning goal as Whitman goalie Alex Bragale regroups.