The win by Sikeston was the first over Cape Central in the school's history, for either the boys or girls program. It was also the first time the Lady Bulldogs had made the finals in the tourney. The best finish by Sikeston in the tournament was fourth place.
Sikeston (2-0) played Marion, Ill. on Saturday afternoon. Results of the game were not available at press time.
Against Cape Central, Sikeston played solid defense that stifled the Lady Tigers potent offense. The win by Sikeston was extra impressive considering sophomore scoring threat, Abbi Keefer, missed the game due to a knee injury.
"With Abbi out," said Sikeston head coach Derrick Long, "we had to move things around. We put (Ashley) Angle back at sweeper and she did an excellent job. All the girls stepped up tonight and it was a total team effort on defense."
In the first half, both clubs could not mount any effective offensive charge. Sikeston only managed one shot, while Cape Central had four shots in the half. By halftime, both teams had failed to light up the scoreboard.
"It was a sluggish first half by both teams," said Long. "Both tried to feel each other out and find some type of offensive rhythm early on."
With Keefer out, Sikeston went to freshman Emily Eaves at forward. Eaves was slotted to play on defense to start out the year. After her performance against the Lady Tigers, her role might change.
"We moved Eaves up top and she definitely speeded things up for us," said Long. "She had a nice game and she showed me that she can be a force up front. I don't know if she will be back on defense the rest of the way."
The Lady Bulldogs stepped up their intensity in the and controlled possession for much of the second half. Sikeston had more scoring chances and held the Lady Tigers in check for the half.
"We took it to them in the second half," said Long. "I was impressed the way we kept them pushed out of their goal. Cape didn't have a lot of good looks late in the game."
The offensive pressure by Sikeston paid off in the 56th minute. The Lady Bulldogs had a throw-in deep in their end. Eaves made a spectacular throw in the mouth of Cape Central's goal and sophomore Ariel Reynolds fought for and got possession.
Reynolds was directly in front of goal and punched the ball past a stunned Lady Tiger keeper for the first goal of the game. Eaves picked up her first assist of her career on the play.
Sikeston outshot Central 9-5 in the second half and their defense thoroughly neutralized the Lady Tigers. The shutout was the first for Sikeston goalie Amber Minner, who started her first game of her career on Thursday.
"Our defense helped out Amber tonight," said Long. "Amber didn't have to handle the ball that often because our back people were solid. (Laura) Atchison and (Katie) DeLaRosa were everywhere on defense. Amber made the plays she had to, but our defense was the star of the game."
The Lady Bulldogs open up their home schedule on Monday against district rival Notre Dame.