Catilin Russell had a feeling it was going to be her team's lucky day.
"We were lining up to do sprints before the game," the Clarke defender said, "and a bird pooped on my head. That's good luck!"
While the game-tying goal did take a lucky bounce through traffic, it was mostly the skill of Madeline Anderson that helped Clarke earn a 1-1 draw with Manhasset in the Conference A-II girls soccer opener for both teams.
Nicole Russell sent a perfectly placed corner kick into the box where Anderson bounced a header inside the far post to even the score with 26:57 left.
When Clarke goalkeeper Rachel Boccio came off her line to challenge with just more than 10 minutes to go, Manhasset's Halle Palmedo sent a perfect chip shot toward the goal. With the net empty, Anderson made a beautiful leaping header to prevent the goal and clear the ball.
"It's better than nothing," Anderson said of the draw. "We were strong defensively, we were good in the air. We just need to play more to feet and finish and we could be dangerous."
Manhasset also could be dangerous with strong seniors like Danielle Nicosia and Kathryn Hallett and an infusion of talented freshmen like Palmedo and Lauren Martelli.
Katherine Markham sent a free kick from about 35 yards out on the left wing to the middle of the box. Erin Barry chased it down and deflected a shot off a defender and into the net to give Manhasset a 1-0 lead with 5:15 to go in the half.
"Last year we lost to them in PKs in the playoffs, so we really wanted this," Barry said. "We played well but I feel like we should have got more."
That they're not content indicates a change in mentality.
"It shows the direction of this team and the potential that I see in these girls," Manhasset coach Chris Keen said.
As for Clarke?
"Maybe it wasn't our lucky day," Russell said, "but we're going to have a lucky season."