Midd-West coach Russ Goodling stood near the fence just off the field at the Middleburg Sports Boosters Athletic Park last Wednesday night just moments after his Mustangs lost to Danville, 2-0, in a HAC-I girls soccer game.
As Goodling stood there after briefly talking to his team, the Mustangs packed up their bags and headed off the field.
The first-year Midd-West coach wasn't worried or even disappointed in his girls at all though. It's still relatively early in the 2012 girls soccer season and the first loss for Midd-West, while not what it wanted to see, was only a little bump in the road.
And it surely doesn't damper what he envisions for the Mustangs and what they're capable of as a team.
"I have a lot of high expectations with this team, I just know they've got to put the work in, have belief and trust in what the coaching staff is going to get them to do," Goodling said. "Once we get it down, we'll be fine, but I have a lot of expectations out of this time."
Losses are quickly forgotten in sports. It's immediately put in the rearview mirror, and that's how Midd-West approached Danville's loss by rebounding with a 2-1 overtime win over Bellefonte on Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs overcame an early 1-0 deficit by scoring two unanswered goals, in the second half and overtime, to get the win.
While Goodling may be in his first season as the Midd-West girls coach, he's no stranger at all to soccer, or even Midd-West. Goodling was an assistant coach for the Midd-West boys from 2002 through 2010, having served under both Shawn Callender and current Mustangs' boys coach Chris Sauer, who's been there since 2005.
With Goodling as an assistant, the Mustangs won a league title in 2008, a District 4 title in 2009 and made the playoffs in 2010. He knows what it takes to get to that next level and stay competitive.
"I think he's fantastic. He's fantastic for the girls. We were kind of one body when we were coaching (together). I was excited for him when he chose to step into that," Sauer said. "He was a great fit (with the boys) and I think the girls are going to do really well under him."
You could say that last season was a slight disappointment for the Midd-West girls. The Mustangs finished 8-8-3, earning a 5-6-3 mark in the HAC-I, before losing to Troy, 2-0, in the District 4 Class AA quarterfinals.
The Mustangs do have 12 key players returning from last year's squad, six of which are seniors. That returning core includes Katie Kreider, Mikayla Beiler, Allie Camp, Hanna Cherry, Miranda Heeter and Nicole Horst, and of those seniors, they probably remember how great of a season 2010 was when they won the HAC-I title and they all want to reclaim the title this year when it's all said and done with.
"Oh absolutely (the girls want to win the title again), I know I am. I was with the boys for nine years and it's kind of something we were used to doing: getting in the postseason," Goodling said. "That's what it's all about. Getting in there to play districts and hopefully go on, get into the state playoffs."
That playoff consistency is the type of attitude Goodling is hoping rubs off the Midd-West players.
"That's what I'm trying to instill in them is to work hard and you'll get rewarded for that hard work," Goodling said. "It's all about the playoffs to me. Get in there, that's the fun part of the season."
When Goodling decided to come back to soccer after a year hiatus, he talked to his girls about having to work hard and put in time to improve on the field come game day and put wins on the board.
It was his message to them this past spring when he first met with them, and it was his message before the season started.
It's a fair assumption that will be the continuing message as the season rolls on.
n Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for The Daily Item. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jonidial