It had been 673 days since the players on the Bettendorf girls’ soccer team had played a high school match.
It took them just 23 seconds to light the home side of the scoreboard in Tuesday’s Mississippi Athletic Conference contest against visiting Davenport Central.
The Bulldogs started the match with the ball, and it didn’t take long for Sophie Utsinger to send a pass forward to teammate Avery Horner, who found the back of the net to quickly make it 1-0. From there, Bettendorf rolled to a 9-0 win over the Blue Devils at A.R. TouVelle Stadium.
“We were just going. We were super excited,” Horner said. “Sophie played me the ball in, I took a touch and shot it, and that’s how we started the game. It just went from there.”
Bettendorf head coach Todd Hornaday said his team was motivated to start the match and the 2021 season.
“This is my 23rd season. I don’t think we’ve every scored a goal in the first half minute,” Hornaday said. “That was right off the bat. We were ready to go.”
Horner had a hat trick before halftime and finished with four goals and an assist in the contest.
“It felt super good to play with this team I haven’t played with in a while,” she said. “We got the ball moving. It was really fun.”
Utsinger also had a hat trick for the Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0 MAC), and she had a pair of assists. Ava Utsinger and Anna Davison added goals for Bettendorf.
Much of the contest was played in Central territory, as Bettendorf put 22 shots on goal in the match to just seven for the Blue Devils (0-1, 0-1 MAC).
“Things just really clicked for us,” Hornaday said. “We obviously have a lot of firepower up front, and I was ecstatic with how well we controlled the midfield. You know Sophie and Avery are going to give you all-state performances, but the two freshmen I had behind them, Peyton Markham and Alma Gonzalez-Hayes, played fantastic. They really controlled possession and made great tackles.”
A rarity for a coach, Hornaday had no criticisms of his squad following the contest.
“It was an all-around great performance,” he said. “I’m happy with everything.”
The Bulldogs now don’t have to wait long for their next competition. They travel to the Ankeny/Centennial Crosstown Invitational in three days.