Kristen Dodson knows what it feels like to be a freshman contributor to a varsity girls soccer team.
Now she's a sophomore who is going to be counted on for big things for a Waubonsie Valley team that is once again very young with 11 roster spots filled by freshmen.
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Dodson scored the equalizer late in the first half, and the Warriors managed a 1-1 draw with Lyons Twp. in Thursday's nonconference action played at Metea Valley in Aurora.
With just 2:30 left in the first half, Dodson found herself in possession of the ball and an empty net when Lyons goalkeeper Maggie Orlowski came out from in front of net, collided with a player and left an opening for Dodson.
"I thought I could get a touch on it, but I didn't know exactly where the ball was," Dodson said. "The ball was right there. I got pushed a little, but they collided more with each other. I was real excited because this was a chance for us to get a restart and have it like 0-0."
Waubonsie Valley (1-0-1) controlled possession for most of the first half, but Lyons took a 1-0 lead on 26-yard free kick from Erin Fitzgerald with 8:31 left in the first half.
"She does it all the time in practice. She strikes the ball really well," Lyons coach Bill Lanspeary said. "I think it gave us a bit of confidence and let us really settle down and play a little bit."
Neither team created many significant scoring chances in the second half to break the tie. Arguably a shot attempt from Dodson in the 71st minute, snagged by Orlowski, was the Warriors' best chance.
Dodson admitted that it might take some time for the Warriors to put everything together. It's part of the maturation process that comes with nearly a dozen new players coming from a variety of clubs.
"They all have different talents, and now we have to figure out where they can go and what they can do," she said. "You're playing with people you don't really know as much as if they were on your club team."
It's also just the start of the season.
"We're trying things and moving things around," Waubonsie Valley coach Julie Bergstrom said. "We saw some good things out there so I'm happy about that. We're young, but hey, we're ready to play."
Lyons (0-0-1) didn't threaten the Warriors throughout the contest, especially over the final 40 minutes.
"We couldn't connect passes and it seems we got a little bit tired," Lanspeary said. "We were giving the ball away and chasing in the second half."