CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs soccer team played their season opener on Monday evening, falling to the Notre Dame Lady Bulldogs on the road, 2-0. The visiting Lady Bulldogs had a solid first half performance, going into the break with the score knotted at zero.
The scoreless first half was due in part to several big defensive stands by Sikeston as they held Notre Dame to just a handful of shots on goal.
"I thought we got a real strong game from Ariel Reynolds," said Sikeston head coach Derrick Long after the game. "On defense she shut down one side. They noticed that after the first half, and (in the second half) they started going to the other side."
After halftime, Notre Dame attacked the other side of the defense, quickly scoring to go ahead 1-0. Scoring for the home-team Lady Bulldogs was Mindy Sebert, at 48 minutes. Assisting on the play was Anna Wren.
The visiting Lady Bulldogs had a few more open opportunities to score, but the Notre Dame defense stepped up late in the game when Sikeston had open looks.
"We had a couple of corner kicks we could've scored on," said Long on the missed opportunities. "They made a couple of mistakes on defense and we couldn't capitalize."
At 64 minutes, Sebert broke through the lane once again, taking an open shot on Sikeston keeper Amber Minner. The shot deflected off of Minner and through for the 2-0 lead, and that would be enough for the home team to hold on for the victory.
Wren once again assisted on the play for Notre Dame.
"They capitalized on our mistakes," said Long. "Really good teams will do that."
Long said that his team had the opportunities to step up their defense, but that Notre Dame's offense came through when it was needed.
"If we could've minimized our mistakes back there, I don't think they would've scored on us," said Long of the two goals. "But, we weren't scoring either though."
Sikeston was out-shot 14-10 on the evening, with Minner providing 12 saves on the 14 shots by Notre Dame.
Despite the loss, Long said that he thought his team played well for the first game of the season.
Sikeston will quickly have a chance for redemption, as their home opener is tonight against Hillsboro. Junior varsity action begins at 5 p.m. with varsity play to follow.
In the junior varsity contest, Notre Dame provided plenty of offense as they defeated Sikeston 7-2.