FORT JENNINGS — Fort Jennings girls soccer mentor Rodney Wagner is used to his Lady Musketeers getting off to slow starts in the early going of the season.

That early-season trend continued in Tuesday's Putnam County League opener versus perennial power Continental at the Fort Jennings Athletic Complex.

The Lady Pirates — with 16 players — had the better of the proceedings most of the late afternoon/evening and emerged with a 2-0 shutout.

"We've been struggling this season making the connections on our passes but I thought that our practices the last two days had helped solve some of that," Wagner exaplained. "I guess that was wrong. We show glimpses at times but we're not consistent. We came out flat today and we're up and down on the field; we don't go to the ball enough and we're not getting many offensive chances because we can't make the connections."

Continental (4-1-0, 1-0-0 PCL) outshot the Musketeers (1-2-2, 0-1-0 PCL) 15-4 on-goal.

"Defense has been a big emphasis the last week: our previous two matches, we played two very good offensive teams," Continental head man Toby Bidlack said. "We felt we needed to shore that area up. I really like how McKenna Scott has stepped up this season; we lose good players every year but players like her step in and assume those roles. She's been a scorer for three years before this and still is but she has taken on more responsibility defensively."

The Pirates owned the possession so much the first half that they squeezed off nine attempts to only two for the Orange and Black, with senior Musketeer keeper Erin Osting (11 total saves) stopping seven and Pirate senior Emma Recker nabbing two.

Osting had a nice denial at 28:20 when sophomore Blair Tegenkamp's 6-yarder from in front was deflected by the keeper and eventually cleared out.

The visitors got on board at 18:03. Off a through pass from sophomore Paige Lawhorn, she found the senior Scott behind the defense and she carried it the rest of the way; her 1-on-1 14-yarder on the left wing slipped through Osting's hands and into the twine for a 1-0 advantage.

Osting made one big save at 11:39, when Scott got loose on the left side and fired from 18 yards.

At 8:31, on a free ball in the box, Lawhorn and Osting battled for possession; Lawhorn managed a shot from 10 yards but a defender kicked it out of harm's way.

The Musketeers had their first foray on-goal at 14:40 when junior Jordan Horstman got behind the defense but her 10-yard try was denied by a diving Recker.

Their second shot came at 4:13 when senior Alyssa Louth fired high from 28 yards but Recker got the save.

"We always open with some tough matchups and that includes early PCL matches; it's what you deal with," Wagner added. "We lost a lot of good players from last year but we also have a lot of talented players back. The struggle right now is to meld those veterans with a slew of talented young players; I'm confident it will happen but I just don't know when it will. We also have to get about four girls back from early-season injuries."

The keepers were up to the task in the second half, with sophomore Ashley Mansfield stopping both the hosts' tries on-goal and Osting denying four of the Pirates' five openings and freshman Marissa Krietmeyer making one save against one shot.

The only shot that got through to the back of the net was at 33:06 when Scott fed a through ball to Lawhorn down the left side; with Osting coming out slightly, the 14-yarder got past a diving keeper for a 2-0 lead.

The hosts tried to get one on the board at 23:17 when junior Brandi Kaskel got possession off a steal and made a good run down the left side; with Mansfield out to try and cut off the angle, she got enough of Kaskel's 16-yarder to slow it down and sophomore Jade Zachrich kicked it out of danger.

At 10:35, with Scott behind the defense, she had a 1-on-1 14-yarder with Osting, who had come out of her line; they collided as ther keeper deflected the ball away. However, she went down with an injury and walked off the pitch.

"We have had some numbers issues in the past but we're used to it," Bidlack added. "There is a work ethic and a fitness culture in this program; the girls know from day one they had better be in shape. They are committed to their skills and their conditioning."

The Musketeers host Kalida 5 p.m. Friday; Continental visits Defiance Saturday.