(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- A heads-up play from Sikeston junior Madison Chaney proved to be the difference on Monday in the Lady Bulldogs' 1-0 win over Poplar Bluff.
With the game scoreless in the 60th minute, Chaney took a shot from directly in front of the goal that sailed over Poplar Bluff goalkeeper Courtney Raulston. The shot ricocheted off the crossbar however and shot back toward Chaney who fought for the rebound and headed the ball into the net to give Sikeston their lone goal of the game.
"Madison is real quick, real aggressive and she can score in the blink of an eye and that is what she did," said Sikeston coach Doyle Noe. "She headed the ball in on a very heads up play and caught them off guard and surprised them. She is that kind of player. Very quick and makes things happen at a real fast pace."
The goal seemed to give the Lady Bulldogs a shot of energy as neither team had been able to get anything going offensively to that point with very few shot opportunities for each side. After Chaney's goal, Sikeston had three near goals in the next five minutes.
Freshman Harper Bryant and Monica Carter each sent a shot just high of the goal while Chaney had another opportunity that went wide left.
"I think (our goal) deflated them," Noe said. "They have some good players. (Marissa Burroughs) is very solid, but once we got that goal they got a little frustrated and started pushing a little more and we kind of relaxed a little bit and settled in."
Poplar Bluff (7-9) wasn't finished though as a Burroughs shot went wide right with 10 minutes remaining. Five minutes later, Sikeston goalkeeper Annie Ramey saved the game.
Burroughs, who has 16 goals this season for the Lady Mules, dribbled the ball and weaved in and out of Lady Bulldog defenders before blasting a shot at the goal. Ramey leaped and pulled the ball down, keeping Sikeston's 1-0 lead and the Lady Bulldogs weren't threatened again.
"I'm very proud of her," Noe said of Ramey. "She's making saves and learning the angles to be at to be a good goalkeeper. She is already a heck of an athlete so once she learned things I knew she would be better. She made a great save there at the end that she definitely wouldn't have made at the beginning of the year."
Ramey was helped by a Sikeston defense that cleared the ball out of their zone time and time again.
"Our defense played real well," Noe said. "I thought Katherine Inman did a real good job on defense. We made a few mistakes but we fought hard. Bluff is a good team. This is a good win for us."
Sikeston improves to 6-9 with the win and play at Farmington today.
The Sikeston junior varsity team played to a scoreless tie against Poplar Bluff.