(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs soccer team found out there is some truth to the old adage of "it's tough to beat a team three times in one season." Tough, but not impossible.
Sikeston, who had defeated Fredericktown 3-1 in early April and again 5-2 on Thursday night, needed a late goal to top the Lady Blackcats 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, earning a trip to the Class 2, District 1 semifinals in the process.
"Fredericktown played well," said Sikeston coach Doyle Noe. "We played them at their place (Thursday) and their field is smaller and tougher to score. We beat them 5-2 and I think we may have came in with some false confidence."
The Lady Blackcats were able to put Sikeston back on their heels midway through the first half when Nicole Burns put the ball just over the outstretched arms of Sikeston goalkeeper Sarah Dixon in the 19th minute.
Down 1-0, the Lady Bulldogs didn't panic and with the wind at their backs, scored four minutes later when senior Sydney Davied sent a long shot toward the Fredericktown net. Lady Blackcat goalkeeper Nikki Mascaro blocked the ball but it crossed the goalline in the process, tying the game.
The game remained tied until late in the second half as Fredericktown's defense began to key on Sikeston leading scorer Keyonna Blissett and others.
"(Fredericktown) packed it in on defense and we got a little frustrated," Noe said. "It took the focus away from our gameplan."
"I'm used to it," Blissett said of the physical play. "It can be very frustrating though because sometimes you feel like they get away with stuff but you just have to play through it."
In the 77th minute, Blissett found her opportunity and took a pass from Madison Chaney, outran two Fredericktown defenders and blistered a shot into the back left corner of the net to give Sikeston their first lead at 2-1.
"Like coach told us after the game, it had been there all game," Blissett said. "It was a bit of desperation, honestly, because we didn't want to go into overtime."
Sikeston then held off a final Fredericktown push in the final minute to earn the win as Dixon collected the last of her six saves on the day.
"We got the win and that's the most important thing," Noe said. "We will definitely have to play better on Tuesday."
Sikeston (10-8) will take on top-seeded Perryville at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
"(Perryville) is good," Noe said. "They're the one seed and their goalie is probably one of the best around. We'll practice Monday and work on some things and hopefully be ready for Tuesday."