CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Sikeston girls soccer team was edged on a Perryville goal early in the second overtime at the Noon Optimist Soccer Tournament at Notre Dame Regional High School on Thursday.
"It's kind of a tough loss, but being the first game, we're just glad we stuck with this team," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "They were good last year, very good."
The Lady Pirates scored at the 1:43 mark of the second 10-minute overtime period for a 2-1 win in the first-round game.
Perryville's Kendra Shilli netted the winner from point-blank range off an assist from Alicia Kueker. During the decisive sequence, Shilli's initial shot bounded off the crossbar and ricocheted straight down in front of the Sikeston goal. In the scramble to clear the loose ball, Kueker deflected it to Shilli for the game-winning shot.
"We're playing a more aggressive style this year, trying to keep our defense pushed up, and it actually kind of backfired right there," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "We got lazy and let some girls get behind us. The girl made a shot, we saved it and she followed it up. It was a good play by them. She didn't quit on the play."
The final goal ended about 70 minutes of scoreless play between the district rivals.
"I liked our intensity, our aggression," said Long. "Hopefully, we'll be aggressive like that all year."
Perryville opened the scoring on Kueker's unassisted goal with 10 minutes gone in regulation.
"That first goal was just terrible defense by us," said Long. "We made some first-game mistakes."
The Lady Bulldogs answered with Jordi Ferrell's goal from about 15 yards out off an assist from freshman Ashley Angle at the 22-minute mark of the first period.
Sophomore midfielder Ferrell's goal marked her return to the Sikeston varsity after missing the entire 2005 season due to injury.
"Jordi played well and our defense, down the gut, was pretty tough with (sophomore defender) Jennifer Millington and (sophomore sweeper) Laura Atchison," Long said. "I think we'll be a tough team to reckon with by the middle of the season."
Sikeston's new goalie, senior Paige Silverthorn, also made an impressive debut in the pipes with 10 saves.
"This was Paige's first time in goal and I thought she was great," said Long. "She's just a heck of an athlete. It was a tough decision for us. We need her on the field, but we'd rather put somebody (in goal) that's athletic and will be in the right spot to make saves. She's a gamesaver back there and I think she's going to work wonders for us."
Silverthorn will not be available for the remainder of the tournament because to a pre-scheduled trip to her college choice, Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Silverthorn will attend Delta State next season on a softball scholarship.
On Silverthorn's absence, Long said, "We're going to try something new tomorrow and and see how it goes."
Perryville had 14 shots on goal to nine for the Bulldogs.
Two of those Sikeston shots narrowly missed the mark in the first overtime.
Senior forward Alli Blurton's 20-yard kick sailed just over the goalpost midway of the period, then, shortly after, freshman forward Abbi Keefer's shot from the right wing just curled around the left post.
"A few bounces here and there and we could have won it," said Long, "but I'd rather see them fall at the end of season than at the beginning."
Sikeston meets Marion, Ill., in the consolation bracket today at 4 p.m.