COLUMBIA — The Battle High School girls soccer team saw a glimpse of the future it longs for Thursday night.
The largely inexperienced Spartans (1-8-1) lost to the Jefferson City Jays (9-1-1) 7-0 in a game that Battle was happy to not lose by mercy rule.
“Holding a team like Jeff City to 7-0, I think, is an accomplishment for us,” Battle coach Jack Rubenstein said. “Especially because we’ve been 10-0’ed a couple times this season.”
Half of the varsity Spartans have no competitive soccer experience.
Freshman Gillian Schulte stands in goal and was praised by her coach for the high volume of saves she makes every game.
Unfortunately for Schulte, the Jays used one-touch soccer up and down the field all night, peppering the goal with quality shots.
The Spartans struggled mightily defending the give-and-go, and the Jays turned speed and superior ball handling into goals throughout the night.
That’s the type of soccer Rubenstein wants his team to play one day. He was not disappointed by the loss.
“We’re not focused on the outcome right now," Rubenstein said.
Rubenstein said he has seen great improvement from his squad, and Jefferson City coach Eddie Horn said it was evident Rubenstein is doing a quality job.
“We’re 10 games in now, and we’re pretty battle-tested,” Rubenstein said.
“I know their record is not the best, but you can tell the kids are really buying into what Jack is selling,” Horn said.
Rubenstein spent the 2012 girls soccer season coaching as an assistant for Horn at Jefferson City, and he said it was fun to coach against him Thursday.
In June of that year, he left the Jays for Rock Bridge High School, where he was head coach of the Bruins' girls team for one season.
In August, the Missourian reported that Rubenstein went to work for Battle as head coach of both the boys and girls soccer teams.
His Class 2 Spartans are a long way from being on the same level as the Class 3 Jays.
Shouts from the field such as “Don’t steal it from your own teammates, guys!” and 7-0 results don’t inspire confidence, but they may be necessary growing pains for the first-year program.
“Just like any high school team throughout the state, we’re trying to improve,” Rubenstein said.
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.