COLUMBIA — This was not how Hickman senior Liz Gayer expected her final home soccer game as a Kewpie to go.
She did not plan on spraining her ankle in the 29th minute and leaving the game for good. She also thought that the Kewpies had improved each game and had a chance to beat visiting Helias.
Instead, the Crusaders won 1-0 on Wednesday night on a goal from senior Melissa Young in the 44th minute off a cross from senior Lauren Ploch.
Gayer, who has signed to play soccer at Missouri, already convinced doctors before the game to let her play with an injury. Two weeks ago she landed hard on her hip after colliding with an opponent. She visited the doctor on Tuesday and learned she had a hip pointer injury. However, Gayer was not going to let that keep her from playing against Helias.
Then in the first half she twisted her ankle after landing awkwardly while fighting for a ball. On the sideline, the trainer told her that it was too swollen for her to return.
Of course, Gayer tried to talk her way back into the game, but she lost this battle.
“I just wanted to wrap it and go,” Gayer said.
While Gayer sat on the sideline with a bag of ice on her ankle, the rest of the Kewpies struggled to find the right connection to score. Hickman has had trouble creating scoring opportunities all year or finishing when it does have good opportunities.
Wednesday was no different.
In a way, the game was a microcosm of the season with missed chances and injury. Two players suffered knee injuries earlier in the season.
“That’s a pretty good analysis,” Hickman coach Jeff Wallace said. “We’ve had a little bad luck. We’ve had some near misses and things like that.”
Sophomore Katie LaRue had two such misses, shooting wide of the goal and hitting the goal post with only the goalkeeper in her way.
“I just get a little nervous in front of the goal,” LaRue said. “We do everything right in the middle and then just can’t score.”
With their inability to score and only two wins, it has been a frustrating season for the Kewpies. Gayer said she was frustrated because of her injuries. Wallace said he was frustrated that he could not push the right buttons or pull the right strings to win more games. However, both were pleased with the team’s mentality.
“The kids of this particular group have stayed resilient and I’ve been extremely pleased with the way they have hung in there,” Wallace said. “When you’ve had the season we’ve had, it can be depressing, but they’ve stayed together as a team.”
Despite the frustrations throughout the season, both Gayer and Wallace pointed out that the Kewpies have one more game. They will play Rock Bridge in the first round of the district tournament on Saturday in Sedalia.
Even though Gayer walked around aided by crutches after the game, she said that there was no way she would miss playing against Rock Bridge. That would not be in her nature.
“I think we’re saving it,” Gayer said with a smile, referring to that game when the Kewpies put everything together. “It’s going to be good.”