COLUMBIA — The Hickman girls soccer team started its night by celebrating its 10 seniors, but it was Rock Bridge that ended the night smiling.
Bruins senior Lauren Kelly scored the game’s only goals in Rock Bridge’s 2-0 win against its rival.
The Bruins also defeated the Kewpies earlier this season 1-0, but they were worried of coming out too weak in the second match. Kelly said that she was afraid of the team underestimating the Kewpies after the first win.
While the Kewpies’ seniors were recognized before the start of the game, Kelly and senior Alex Litofsky gathered the rest of the Bruins off to the side of the field for a meeting.
“I told them it’s hard to beat a team twice and that Hickman would be all emotional because of senior night, and it’s going to be one of the games they really want to win,” Kelly said. “We just got our mind-set focused.”
The Kewpies did not relent early on, bringing the emotion and energy from their celebration into the first half. Sophomore Katie LaRue had an early opportunity for the Kewpies, sending a hard shot on goal after beating her defender, but Bruins freshman Carrie Levy made the save.
Rock Bridge coach Kelly Gates told her team before the game that she wanted them to come out in ‘beast mode’ and score first.
“A lot of the season we’ve been playing from behind,” Kelly said. “That’s one of our new things, let’s make the other team play from behind.”
Kelly gave them that goal in the 24th minute, finishing a cross from sophomore Kayla Hauck. It was her first goal against Hickman during her four years at Rock Bridge, which she said made the game even more special.
Even though the Kewpies were down at halftime, coach Jeff Wallace was pleased with his team’s chances.
But then Kelly scored again in the 48th minute, heading in a cross from senior Whitley Zitsch.
“Both those balls were perfect from my teammates. I jut put them in the back of the net,” Kelly said.
Wallace said that he sensed his team lost its focus after the second goal. After he changed the lineup, looking for a spark, the Kewpies had a few chances to cut into the deficit, but the three second-half shots were not enough.
“Goals have been hard for us to come by this year,” Wallace said.
After the game, Kelly stood on the sideline with a wide smile as she thought about her four years at Rock Bridge.
“This is the first time we’ve beat them twice,” Kelly said about Hickman. “It feels so amazing with our team coming together and putting the ball in the back of the net.”