(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- With last year's leading scorer, Abbi Keefer, lost to graduation, one of the biggest questions the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs face this season is making up that lost offense.
If Wednesday results against Harrisburg, Ill., were any indication they have nothing to worry about.
After pulling out a 2-1 lead at the half, Sikeston hammered Harrisburg for six goals in the second half to pull out an easy 8-3 victory in its first game this season.
"Offensively, we got some goals going, so that's good," Sikeston coach Derrick Long said. "It usually takes us awhile to get some scoring.
"We even had two freshman (Monica Carter and Madison Chaney) contribute, scoring three goals altogether."
One of the offensive highlights on the evening was a hat trick by sophomore Kristin King, scoring consecutive goals for Sikeston at the 43rd, 46th and 62nd minute marks respectively.
Sophomore Keyonna Blissett had a special game of her own, breaking the school record for most assists in a game with five.
The previous record was set by Jordi Ferrell at four.
Blissett, who also had one goal, said she wasn't made aware of her achievement until after the game.
"He's (Long) the type that won't say anything until afterward," she said. "So he brought it up after the game and I'm really excited."
Long credits the team's offensive success to the decision to move senior Emily Eaves out of her regular position.
"We started her on defense and her main position is defense," he said. "Once we moved her up to center-mid it seemed to get our offense clicking a little bit.
"I hope we don't have to do it all year, because we really need her on defense, but it worked tonight."
Eaves scored once while also earning an assist.
Other scorers in the game include the above mentioned freshman Carter and Chaney.
Chaney contributed the games first and last goals, at the nine and 75 minute marks respectively, while Carter's goal came at 29 minutes.
Long said he's happy with the end result, but hopes his team can focus on cutting out some of the mistakes.
"We knew going in that we could get prepared as we could coming in to the first game, but having so many girls that haven't played together there was going to be people out of position," he said.
"It's going to be like that for the first five or six games. The expectations are just going to be us going out there and giving the best effort we can."
Sikeston will get back in action this afternoon, weather permitting, when they take on the Jackson Indians at 4 p.m. in the Noon Optimist Tournament held at Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau.