Dover girls’ soccer team stays positive after 2-2 start

While it’s difficult when the club players are missing, coach Paul Booton hopes Dover can put a quality girls’ soccer squad on the field when the roster is intact. (Delaware State News file photo)

While it’s difficult when the club players are missing, coach Paul Booton hopes Dover can put a quality girls’ soccer squad on the field when the roster is intact. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER — Cassidy Bennetti couldn’t make Dover High’s first couple girls’ soccer games.

The junior midfielder was a little busy, playing in Spain with an ODP regional select squad.

Likewise, senior goalie Caroline Cashion was out of town, too.

She was playing with her club team in San Diego.

Situations like that are just part of the deal anymore in a sport like soccer, though.

And, with seven club players on this year’s squad, Senator coach Paul Booton said it may be as many as he’s had at any one time.

But, while it’s difficult when the club players are missing, Booton hopes Dover can put a quality squad on the field when the roster is intact.

One of the seniors who has helped carry Dover in the early season is forward Katie Ford. A second-team all-Henlopen North selection as a junior, she’s scored 12 of the Senators’ first 18 goals. (Delaware State News file photo)

One of the seniors who has helped carry Dover in the early season is forward Katie Ford. A second-team all-Henlopen North selection as a junior, she’s scored 12 of the Senators’ first 18 goals. (Delaware State News file photo)

That’s why the Senators (1-0 Henlopen North, 2-2 overall) aren’t panicking after losing to a pair of Henlopen Conference Southern Division programs in Woodbridge and Lake Forest. They return to their North schedule today with a 6:30 p.m. game at Sussex Central.

“They’re working hard because their expectations are higher than they have been before,” said Booton. “The good news is, even losing those two games, they haven’t gone in the tank. They know the season’s not lost. It’s going to be a crazy year anyway.”

“I feel like that doesn’t reflect our talent,” Cashion said about Dover’s first few games. “I think we’re really going to start coming around here and getting some ‘W’s’ under our belt.”

Cashion, who’s headed to Holy Cross College, and Bennettii, who’s already committed to the University of Richmond, are both back with Dover now. So is junior midfielder Destiny Still, who missed the first three games with a concussion.

“It was definitely hard being gone and then jumping back in with the team,” said Bennetti. “But we have a bunch of seniors who have been on the team for four years. They were able to keep everyone’s spirits up. This is our year when we have a really good group of girls.

“Everyone can see it in their eyes — that it’s possible.”

The Senators, who have eight seniors, finished just 4-11 last spring. They haven’t made the DIAA Division I state tournament since 2013.

Among the other veterans are defender Ana Figueroa, who was an honorable mention all-North pick last season, and midfielder Rachel Mills, who is back playing soccer after a couple seasons on the lacrosse team.

One of the seniors who has helped carry Dover in the early season is forward Katie Ford. A second-team all-Henlopen North selection as a junior, she’s scored 12 of the Senators’ first 18 goals.

Not bad when you consider that Ford scored seven goals all last season. She’s going to continue her playing career at Wesley College.

“It has surprised me a little bit,” Ford admitted about her success so far. “I think it’s another challenge (playing without some starters).

“But I know I’m not going to completely blow through the entire team. I’ve got to realize that. It’s not just one against 11, it’s 11 v. 11.”

“Having her with a set of players who can do something with her really helps,” said Booton. “Now they’re really starting to find each other. Her (Ford) and Cassidy and Destiny, that group, offensively, can really make things happen.

“She (Ford) can score a lot of goals. She’s scoring three a game but she’s leaving eight on the field. We’ve got to get her to be more consistent — which she’s working really hard on.”

Dover has already scored more goals this spring in four games (18) than it did last year in 15 games (15). The Senators were shut out six times last year.

Dover’s players would like to think they’re capable of even more. But those two early losses have reduced the Senators’ margin for error if they want to make the state tourney.

“Those were games that we felt like we could have won,” said Cashion. “Now we have to grind harder against the CRs and the Indian Rivers. We found ourselves during those (early) games. We found who was willing to get down to the grit and work.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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