It was a bittersweet start to the 2016 campaign for the Nordonia High School girls soccer team.
Let's start with the sweet. The Lady Knights shut out non-conference opponent Bedford by the score of 7-0 in the season opener at home Aug 19.
Now for the bitter. Bedford's current head coach is Steve Toth, who was the head coach at Nordonia two years ago. Not only that, but Nordonia's current head coach, Les Gicei, was an assistant under Toth during the 2014 season.
"It's a good way to start the season, but it was an interesting game," said Gicei. "It was kind of a tough situation to play through, and the victory was bittersweet."
Juniors Jenna Toth and Carmen Licht led the way offensively for Nordonia. Both tallied a pair of goals to account for more than half of the Lady Knights' scoring.
Three other Nordonia players registered one goal each. They were junior Shannon Spencer, sophomore Sophie Lim, and freshman Morgan Bugenske.
Putting forth a stellar defensive performance was senior goalkeeper Sydney Bostjancic. She teamed with sophomore Heather Richmond to record the shutout in goal.
"We're fortunate to have two very strong goalkeepers," said Gicei. "Sydney is a three-year starter and one of the leaders of our team."
According to Gicei, Bedford is an inexperienced squad. However, the Lady Bearcats played Nordonia tough for the duration of the contest.
"All in all, I think we showed a lot of class with the way we played," said Gicei. "Bedford was undermanned, but they played hard the whole time. It was a fairly played game by both teams."
Nordonia has two more non-conference contests scheduled for this week. Like the season opener, both of them will be at home for the Lady Knights.
Nordonia will host Akron Firestone Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. On Aug. 27, the Lady Knights will welcome Kent Roosevelt to town.
The Rough Riders are part of the American Conference of the Suburban League. Nordonia is a member of the National Conference of the Suburban League.
"This week will be a good test for us," said Gicei. "We're off to a good start, though, and we'll definitely take it."