WESTERLY — For the Westerly High girls soccer team, this season could be themed as a work in progress.
Westerly returns no starters from last year's senior-laden squad that finished 13-4-4 and reached the Division II semifinals. And the Bulldogs do not have a senior on the team.
But the Bulldogs are unbeaten after two games, including a 1-0 Division II win against the Lincoln School on Friday at Augeri Field.
So far, the Bulldogs are taking care of business.
"All of us played JV last year and we just got thrown into varsity this season," sophomore forward Jillian Octeau said. "It's a cool experience. The difference between junior varsity and varsity is like the difference between competitive and rec [youth soccer]."
Octeau gave the Bulldogs a quick 1-0 lead, scoring the game's only goal just 13 seconds into the contest.
The Lynx had the opening kickoff and played the ball back. Westerly midfielder Gia Keegan dispossessed a Lincoln player and sent a ball to her left.
Octeau put a few touches on the pass and scored to the near post on the ground about 12 yards from goal.
"I was right there and put it in," Octeau said. "That was crazy. It was a lucky shot, definitely. I don't think the defense was ready."
Westerly had the advantage of a strong wind in the first half and finished with 11 shots, four of them on target. Lincoln had two shots, one on goal.
Rachel Dobson, Keegan and Diana Turano put together a solid series of passes about 12 minutes into the game. Turano's resulting shot just sailed over the crossbar.
About three minutes later, Octeau put a hard shot on goal off a fine pass from Jackie Fusaro. But Lincoln goalie Jadyn Ramos made a solid save.
"I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight, a lot of grit," Westerly coach Jay Hudson said. "These girls play very well together, but the speed is a lot faster at this level. They are adjusting to it. Luckily, we've had the ball roll our way and we've grabbed six points in two games.
"I can't ask for any more than what these young ladies are doing."
In the second half, Lincoln had a good opportunity in the first five minutes. Forward Sasha Landau was pursuing a through ball with only Westerly goalie Mackenzie Fusaro to beat. But Fusaro came out quickly and just beat Landau to the ball with a slide tackle that cleared it.
"That was a big play there," Hudson said.
In the second half, Westerly had its best chance with about 19 minutes left when a direct kick by Madison O'Neil from about 22 yards away looked like it might have a chance to find the back of the net. But Lincoln keeper Cede McNally was able to punch the ball out with both fists before it could sail over her head.
Westerly finished with five shots, all of them on goal, in the second half; Lincoln had three, all on goal.
Lincoln (1-1) had another good opportunity with about 11 minutes left when a corner kick bounced off several players near the goal line before Westerly cleared it.
Westerly has yet to allow a goal this season. Sweeper Nina Cillino and McNeil played well in the back for the Bulldogs.
"We've worked hard a lot in practice and have done a lot of things to get us ready to compete at this level," Cillino said. "I think if we just keep putting in the work we will do well this season."
Westerly still has a full agenda of items to work on, Hudson said.
"It's the movement with and without the ball. And we need to work on possession and control," he said. "Our midfield was not as crisp as we were the other day, and we struggled a bit tonight on offense with our touches.
"But we are a young team and we will continue to work on those things."
Westerly next travels to Middletown on Monday for a 6 p.m. game.