(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- With an overtime loss to Saxony Lutheran just over three weeks ago fresh on their minds, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs used a barrage of late goals to enact some revenge on the Lady Crusaders.
With the game tied 1-1 on Thursday night, Sikeston scored four goals in the final 14 minutes to defeat Saxony Lutheran 5-1, erasing the memories of a 2-1 overtime loss on March 29.
"We didn't play our game the first time we played them and it burned us deep down inside," said Sikeston's Keyonna Blissett. "So today, with this being our home field, we wanted to show that was just an accident and we had to play our 'A' game."
The teams seemed evenly matched early, with neither side able to gain the advantage until Blissett dribbled through several Lady Crusader defenders and scored with 16:05 remaining to play in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs were able to maintain the slim 1-0 lead going into halftime.
"I think the first half we came out a little slow," Sikeston coach Doyle Noe said. "We did get an early goal to set the tone. Then we relaxed a little bit and let them get the equalizer to tie it up."
Saxony Lutheran was able to tie the game with 21:50 remaining in the contest, when Lauren Hecht took a pass from Nicole Hemmann and put the ball in the right corner of the net to tie the game.
Sikeston, who had yet to take a shot up to that point in the second half, turned up the heat and quickly turned a close game into a blowout.
The scoring onslaught began when Blissett notched her second goal of the game by sending a slow, high kick just out of reach of the Lady Crusader goalie with 13:50 remaining in the game.
"Once they scored we had our minds set that it wasn't going to happen again," Blissett said. "We just turned up the volume and got going."
Less than three minutes later, senior Sarah Hopson, who has been battling an ankle injury, scored her first goal of the season when she put the ball in the net off a rebound during a corner kick situation.
"I've kind of had an injury and I just wanted to give it all I had today, whether it be a goal or not," Hopson said. "I knew I had to be up there with the corner kick and as soon as I saw the opportunity I went with it and (scored) it."
One minute later, junior Kristin King took a ball that deflected off the Saxony Lutheran goalie and sent into the back of the net to give the Lady Bulldogs a 4-1.
Then, with 12 seconds remaining in the game, King put an exclamation mark on the Lady Bulldogs' win, scoring again off an assist from Madison Chaney to make the score 5-1.
"The second half we really came out aggressive and played with the most urgency we have all season," Noe said. "Putting four goals up on the board, going against the wind and going against a quality opponent was big and I thought my girls really stepped up to the challenge the second half."
While Sikeston was scoring at will, their defense was equally as impressive, thwarting several Lady Crusader scoring opportunities. Sikeston goal keeper Sarah Dixon continued to impress, making six saves in the game.
"She's definitely getting better," Noe said. "It's an experience thing, especially with her stepping up midway through the season with her first varsity experience and playing keeper as a sophomore. She's getting better each game and I'm confident in her to make the big save and save the balls that she should."
Sikeston (7-5) will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Perryville at 5 p.m.