(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It looked as though it was going to be a scoring frenzy exactly one minute in when Sikeston sophomore Kristin King put the Lady Bulldogs on top 1-0.
Even with the numerous shots on goal that followed, Sikeston could not find its stroke or the net. However, they were able to hang on to a 2-1 win over the visiting Kennett Lady Indians on Monday evening.
"When you get that first goal in the first minute you think it's going to be one of those nights where you're just putting them in," Sikeston head coach Derrick Long said. "That's how it has been in our first two games and it wasn't because of a lack of trying, we had a lot of golden opportunities to score and we just couldn't put anything in.
"We could have put it away early with three or four, but it didn't happen. They made a game out of it and let them in it."
The Lady Bulldogs have made it an early habit in their first two games by jumping on their opponents with an early lead. Sikeston has scored 13 goals in their first two games.
King got them started in that same direction as the clock hit 39:00 when a ball got behind Kennett goalkeeper Alexandria Brown. After an initial stop by Brown, the ball somehow got loose with King there to punch it in for the goal.
From there, the Lady Bulldogs missed 10 shots on goal. Their leading scorer, Keyonna Blissett, was held scoreless throughout the game which is what Long noted as a key to slowing his squad down.
"She couldn't get much going up there," he said. "She was playing real aggressive but just wasn't getting much on her shots. When they hold your main scorer down its hard."
In the first half, the Lady Bulldogs had the gusting wind at their backs which had them at somewhat of a disadvantage.
With the wind reaching upwards of 20 to 25 miles per hour at times, normal passes from player to player seemed to shoot across the field that threw off timing.
"That first half we were hitting balls through that were going straight out of bounds," Long said. "We had a few more opportunities that second half.
Sikeston, with missed shots and wind problems, still led at halftime 1-0. Kennett would now hold the wind advantage in the second half while Sikeston now had the task of kicking in to.
"Once it was 1-0 at half and they got the wind at their back, we knew we were going to be in for a fight," said Long.
Nearly five minutes into the second half Kennett tied the match at one goal apiece when the Lady Indians scored on a penalty kick that squeaked by the out-stretched hand of then goalie Emily Eaves.
"Them getting a penalty kick real early in the second half, that hurt," Long said. "It was a good call. We just had some dumb mistakes."
Nine minutes later, Eaves would kick the eventual game-winner that nearly crept out the left side of the goal because of a slight gust of wind. Eaves' shot flew by both her defender and Brown at goalie from the right side of the field and landed just inside the left post for the 2-1 win.
"Emily put a great shot in there," said Long. "Her putting that game-winner in was nice."
Long credited his sweeper, Kelsey Jenkins, for handling the bulk of the defense by keeping would be Kennett shots at bay.
"I thought Kelsey had a really good game on defense," said Long. "She controlled our defense that second half and cleared a lot of key balls out of there."
Sikeston is now 3-0 on the season and is scheduled to play at Fredericktown today.