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Captain Nic Rust of the Central soccer team, right, leads her team to first win of the season, a 5-1 win over Merrimack High. (Nicole Casey Photo)

No rust - Little Green girls soccer shows they're strong in season opener

MANCHESTER - Hooksett shined as Central High School girls soccer captain Nicole Rust scored a hat trick to lead her squad past Merrimack High School in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 24, at Gill Stadium in Manchester.

'Anytime you win, it's good,' said Central girls soccer coach Peter Lally, following his team's 5-1 victory.

Although Central has only had the opportunity for five practices this season, no sign of off-season rust showed as they dominated the match from the opening moments.

'I was pleased, said Lally. 'We did a lot of good things. We made mistakes, but we did a lot of good things well,'

Hooksett's Colbie Cookson, Central's co-captain with Rust, played an aggressive defense that halted any momentum that Merrimack could muster.

The Little Green struck first 10 minutes into the match when Sarah Michaud scored the first goal of the season. Merrimack answered back with a goal immediately after. Central's Rust began her scoring onslaught a minute later. Rust would give Central the lead that the Little Green would not lose the rest of the game.

Lally noticed a lot of positives in his team's play that afternoon. With only three returning starters, Lally expects some mistakes from his young team but did not miss the immense positives either.

'Being able to widen the field, communication, things that you spend a lot of time going over,' said Lally.

The ability to take shots was another thing that Central High's coach continued to communicate to his team throughout the contest. The Little Green listened. They began taking shots when the opportunity presented itself.

Rust scored once more in the closing minutes of the first half and again at the start of the second half. The fifth goal on Central's side of the scoreboard came on a Merrimack goal that was, accidentally, scored on them by their own player midway through the second half.

Despite an offensive showcase, Central High School girls soccer is not satisfied.

'This team's very inexperienced,' said Lally. 'So we hope to get better as the season goes on.'

The mistakes, glaring to a head coach with as much experience as Lally, did not even begin to overshadow the shooting attacks and the solid work on defense. The goalkeepers for Central on the afternoon, Hooksett natives Maggie McGovern and Gabby Desjardins, were able to stop nearly every shot attempt by Merrimack. Both were protected by the shutdown defender of the day, Cookson, who showed no fear in defending against Merrimack.

Cookson was shaken later in the contest when hit by the ball. Cookson did not leave the game, or miss a step, as she kept the visiting team from Central's half of the field, and from the goalkeeper.

'They should motivate themselves to be successful. The goal is to win a state championship. If that doesn't motivate kids, an old guy like me isn't going to motivate them,' said Lally and smiled.

After a victory as impressive as that one, Lally has a lot to smile about.

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