EXETER — Casey Estey didn’t know. Head coach Megan Young and Anna Vogt weren’t sure and, athletics director Bill Ball took an educated guess and fell short by one game.
To a player, coach and even an AD, it seems no one in Blue Hawks country knows exactly how many consecutive games the girls’ soccer team has won.
The bottom line is, after Tuesday’s 3-0 blanking of previously unbeaten Bedford at William Ball Stadium, the four-time defending state champion Blue Hawks remain the hottest team in the region.
Take note, Exeter fans. Your 8-0 team has won 32 straight games and is ranked No. 1 in the weekly Region 1 National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
“We really don’t talk about it (the streak),” said Young. “Our mindset is just on our next game. We knew we were playing a tough opponent today and we played well.”
Estey, a junior who scored twice, echoed her coaches’ thoughts about the impressive winning streak. “We don’t think about it until someone brings it up.” As for Vogt, she said remaining on an even keel is the right way to handle a long winning streak.
“For us, it’s a game-to-game basis,” she said. “We win, we put it in the win column and move on to the next game. That’s the way we approach it as a team.”
Bedford entered the contest 7-0-1 in Division I but it didn’t take the Bulldogs long see first-hand why Exeter is tough to beat.
“They just move the ball quickly,” said Bedford captain Brenna Williams. “They have a good solid team and leadership. We took many shots today, but we just couldn’t finish. We will learn from this game and hopefully if we play them again, we’ll come out stronger than we did today. It took us about 15 minutes into the game to settle down and we can’t start that way against a team like Exeter.”
The Blue Hawks scored the eventual game-winning goal 13:15 into the game when Estey, after taking a pass in front of the net from Casey Scott, faked a shot, which caused Bedford goalie Brooke Barrett to commit too soon. As Barrett slid to the turf, Estey sidestepped the netminder with one dribble and deposited the ball into the open net.
Bedford almost tied the game a minute later, but Exeter goalie Megan Defeo blocked a hard shot labeled for the net off the foot of Williams. Exeter took control when Vogt connected from the right side on a low shot that dribbled past Barrett into the far corner of the cage with 15:45 remaining in the half.
Estey, only a junior, on an assist from Taylor O’Donnell, scored the third goal with 23 minutes left to play.
“Compared to last year, I thought Bedford played with more confidence today,” said Estey. “But when Anna scored to give us a two-goal lead, we could see their (Bedford’s) heads drop.” Exeter has scored 33 goals and, with six shutout wins, has allowed only four goals this season.
“We wanted to take it to them and we did,” said coach Young, whose team must travel to Derry on Thursday to face the 8-0 Astros.
The game is on grass, which should be an advantage for Pinkerton. But Estey noted “we practice on grass. So it’s not like we don’t know how to play on it. We’ll be fine.”