(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Squandering a 2-0 halftime lead, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs couldn't keep the Jackson Lady Indians down for long.
Jackson hit the back of the net four times in the second half, downing the Lady Bulldogs 4-2 Thursday at the Sikeston Sports Complex.
"The first half, I thought it was pretty even and I thought we had a lot of scoring chances," Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe said. "They just wanted it more than we did the second half."
Their early two-goal lead surprised even the Lady Bulldogs, who are now 6-11 on the year.
Monica Carter scored the game's first goal with just under 14 minutes left in the half, hitting the left side of the net with a cross kick from the right side of the field.
Just 18 seconds before the buzzer sounded to signal the half, Natalie Stevens broke free after beating her defender and was faced with a one on one with Jackson's keeper. After the Lady Indian goalie shaded up to try and beat Stevens to the punch, Stevens pushed a shot right past and into the net for their 2-0 lead.
"I think the girls were surprised," Noe said about going up 2-0. "I just try to tell them that girls soccer is a lot about confidence and just being able to step on the field and play. We definitely played with Jackson tonight and hopefully this will give them some confidence."
It was a welcomed change for Noe and the Lady Bulldogs to have a goal scored from someone not named Madison Chaney, who leads the team in goals by a wide margin.
"It was great to get some goals from someone other than Madison. I think she has about 90 percent of our goals," Noe said. "It was great to see Monica and Natalie put one in and take some pressure off of Madison."
Sikeston's two goals didn't stand up much longer.
Jordan Myer scored the first of her two goals on the night just four minutes into the second half. Myer flipped a shot right over the head of Sikeston keeper Annie Ramey sparking Jackson's barrage of second half goals.
"I felt like she was the spark plug for us tonight," Jackson coach Justin McMullen said about Myer. "Her play kind of rubbed off on the rest of the girls."
Jeanette Powell tied the game nearly eight minutes later with a goal that hit off the crossbar and bounced into the net.
With the score now tied, Sikeston's confidence gained from their early advantage was now drained.
"They got that early goal and our girls just kind of deflated," Noe said. "
Myer put the Lady Indians on top minutes later with her second goal, striking a ball from midfield and through a host of Sikeston defenders.
Giving Jackson their two-score lead, Mollie Crader found a wide open net in front of her after Ramey deflected a shot just moments prior. Crader picked up the rebound for the goal.
"We just weren't mentally focused in the first half by any means," McMullen said. "Give credit to Sikeston, they came ready to play. But, the second half, I felt like we were more prepared and got a couple of goals early. That dictated the play from there."
"Their last two goals, our defense wasn't playing the same as they were the first half," Noe said. "No communication, not clearing the ball and the effort wasn't there. Very frustrating second half to watch, but overall I'm pleased. We've came a long way since the first time we've played them."
Although four goals were given up, Ramey was continuously pelted with shot after shot as Jackson controlled possession for most of the game.
"Annie is a strong keeper and our defensive girls have really came about," said Noe. "She's starting to keep us in some games, which is very promising with her being just a sophomore for the future."
Sikeston travels to Perryville with the varsity game scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m.