(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Forced into a shootout after two scoreless overtimes against visiting Cape Central Tuesday night, Sikeston was denied its fifth win of the season as the Tigers connected on their final three penalty kicks to win 2-1.
"I think we were a little flat (tonight)," Sikeston coach Doyle Noe said. "We were a little bit on our heels.
"Cape is a solid program. They're struggling a little bit right now and they've had a few losses, but they came to play tonight."
Coming into the second half of the contest, Sikeston was left protecting a slim 1-0 lead thanks to forward Evan Underwood connecting on a penalty kick from the right side of the goalie box with 17:47 left to go in the first half.
After holding that lead for over 37:00 minutes, a tired Bulldog defense would finally let the Tigers slip back into the game when Owen Hill's shot at the 9:51 mark in the second half slipped past goal keeper Michael Gipson tying the game at 1-1 and forcing overtime.
With the two teams continuing to play tight defense and finding little in the way of scoring opportunities, both overtimes came and went without a goal forcing the shootout.
Unfortunately for Sikeston, the Bulldogs didn't have much more luck finding the net than in regulation. After Sikeston blocked Cape Centra's first shot, Josh Bill was successful for Sikeston to take an early 1-0 lead.
After both teams missed their next shot, however, the Tigers would find the net on all three of their final shots while Cape Central's goalie blocked the final two Bulldog shots to secure the win.
"What I tell my shooters is to split the goal in to thirds and pick a third and just drive it low to the side," Noe said. "We made a couple mistakes. We put one way over the goal, it wasn't even close. Then we kind of had a weak shot, not too hard of a save for the goalie.
"Then their goalie came up with a great save in the corner. Hunter Williams hit a great ball in the corner, the goalie read it and made a heck of a save."
Sikeston's Underwood blames the Bulldogs loss on the team having an off night.
"They came out hard the whole game," he said. "We didn't have our best night and that's going happen.
"We kind of got tired and they were putting it to us."
Now at 4-3 on the year, Sikeston will look rebound tonight when they play visiting Poplar Bluff with jayvee action starting at 5 p.m. to be followed right after by varsity.
Not planning on letting the same thing happen twice, Gipson plans on using Tuesday's loss as a reminder looking forward.
"This is a lesson learned definitely for us," he said. "I think we're going to go in to the next game with more heart than (this one). I think we're going to not underestimate a team based on their record."
Earlier in the evening, Sikeston's jayvee was able to make its lone goal count as Jared Boyd's netter was the deciding factor in a 1-0 shutout of the Tigers jayvee.