For the players, each meeting between Immaculate Heart Central and Watertown High School in girls soccer is a special game.
This time, their latest encounter on Wednesday night was a little more memorable for the reigning A Division champion Cyclones.
Brianne Arthur and Miranda Gilbert each scored within a span of 4 1/2 minutes in the second half, and goalkeeper Katie Aldrich made six saves as Watertown blanked IHC, 2-0, in an early-season divisional showdown in the Frontier League.
For us, its always Watertown-IHC, Arthur said. Weve always been cross-town rivals and this is always a big game. We never play them early in the season like this and its awesome to come out with a win.
After a scoreless and closely-contested first half, the Cyclones broke through in the 48th minute as Arthur collected in a pass from Gilbert, out-ran a group of defenders and lifted a drive into the left corner of the net for the decisive goal.
Off the field these girls are friends, Watertown coach Michael VanNostrand said. But when it comes time to compete, they compete. They always want to have bragging rights and this is a big win for us early in the season.
Watertown (3-2 overall, 2-1 league) received a boost from Gilbert, a junior who moved up from the midfield to start at forward, taking the place of senior Morgan Cadwell, who is sidelined with an injury.
Miranda Gilbert had to step in and start at forward and she did well for us, VanNostrand said. Miranda had played all over the place for us and she can play forward she can shoot the ball with both her right and her left foot. She keeps working the whole time and she has that offensive mentality so for her to step up and have this night, she helped out her team tremendously.
Gilbert also scored unassisted as she collected in a loose ball and scored into the upper half of the net in the 52nd minute to provide the Cyclones with a two-goal lead.
It was tough loss because we made a couple of mistakes in the back on those two goals, IHC coach Kurt Robbins said. Well get better, weve got a couple people hurt and weve got to get these people back. Well be all right I thought we played fairly well, we just made a couple bad mistakes and didnt capitalize on the chances we had.
Aldrich, who recorded her third shutout of the season, has now allowed only one goal in three league games. The junior keeper was supported by starting defenders Hannah Keggins, Taylor Rick, Porsha Gathers-Grossett and Megan Hefferon.
Defensively, weve gone to a little different system in the back, were playing more of a zone, VanNostrand said. I think were becoming more comfortable with this and tonight we played it really well.
The Cavaliers (2-2, 2-2) had several quality scoring chances in the second half, but were turned back as Samantha Alteri drilled a shot off the crossbar with 24 minutes remaining and Aldrich made a save with a scrum of players in front with nine minutes left.
Weve got to make those chances, especially when were shorthanded like this, Robbins said. But well learn from this as a team.
With the victory, Watertown moves into a tie for second place in the A Division with IHC and both teams trailing first-place Indian River by two points.
The energy the girls came with tonight was just awesome, we need to play like that every single night, VanNostrand said. Because our division is so even and competitive, so we have to bring it every night.