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COLUMBIA CITY — For the moment Columbia City girls’ soccer coach Nicole Gebfert can say something nearly no coach can.
I’m undefeated for my career.
“Hey we’re 1-0,” Gebfert said after being asked how her first head coaching job is working out. “It’s a great start. You can’t really complain about a 5-0 win.”
Along with the help of a Lady Eagles squad led by nine seniors, Gebfert got her first win as a head coach in a home opening shutout over Manchester Monday.
The majority of those goals scored had one name and one foot behind it. Senior Jessica Bickle took the Lady Eagles from a strong 2-0 lead at halftime to a comfortable win scoring all three of her hat trick goals in the second half.
“She had a huge night,” Gebfert noted. “Hat trick. You can’t get much better.”
Columbia City looked to what led them last season in Katie Salliant and Sarah Opliger in the first half.
After a relentless attack by the Lady Eagles to open the game, Opliger broke the scoreless tie with 28:18 left in the first half.
On a pass up the middle from Salliant, Opliger beat the Squire goalie to the corner of the goal to give City a 1-0 lead.
Eight minutes later it was Saillant’s turn. With 19:53 to go in the half, the junior midfielder took a throw-in through the middle of the Manchester defense on a breakaway goal.
“It’s a great confidence boost for them,” Gebfert said about her scorers on the night. “For Bickle to get those three goals and Opliger to get one in the first game is a big boost to show them, ok I still remember how to score goals from last year.”
Bickle’s work came in the second half of the Lady Eagles one-sided affair. Just minutes into the second half, the senior defender used finesse to chip her first goal of the season over the Manchester goalie to make it 3-0.
The game went scoreless for most of the second half with Bickle getting two late scores.
The first came with 11:26 remaining on a rebound goal in the box. Bickle took a defender’s pass out of the box back into the corner of the goal.
For good measure, Bickle took a free kick straight away from just outside the box with 5:02 left. After bending a shot around a wall of Squire defenders, Bickle again beat the goalie for her and the Lady Eagles final goal of the night.
“In the first game it’s just getting that first win,” Gebfert said. “We had a scrimmage and that showed our weaknesses and what we had to work on. We got the 5-0 victory but we also know now what we have to do to beat our tougher competition.”