Spring break hurts Rock Bridge soccer team

Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 10:31 p.m. CDT; updated 11:55 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — Battling rain and leg-numbing temperatures, the Rock Bridge girls soccer team could not hold off Rolla's offensive pressure and lost 2-0 in its season opener Thursday at Rock Bridge.

The Bruins struggled with fundamentals on the wet turf.

“We don’t really have the team chemistry down yet, but we’re a lot better off tonight than we would have been on Tuesday,” said senior Rachel Rutter about Tuesday’s rain-cancellation against Cor Jesu in St. Louis.

Columbia’s chilling April showers Thursday night were a significant change from the humid 80-degree weather last week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where Bruins players Marlena Szewczyk, Kelsey Konrardy, and Rutter vacationed.

Rock Bridge, like much of Columbia, was mostly empty last week while students and faculty enjoyed spring break.

Rock Bridge coach Kelly Gates said the week long vacation before its first game was a disadvantage for Rock Bridge. There were three weeks of practices before the break, but Gates said that even then players were distracted anticipating their upcoming travels.

“That set us back,” Gates said. “Every day when we’re practicing before spring break players are getting a little better and a little better, and then you have just one week where some people aren’t even touching a ball. It’s a huge disadvantage.”

During spring break, Gates held optional practices and provided vacationing players with workouts to continue physical conditioning.

“If they didn’t come (to practice) they were responsible for keeping themselves in shape,” Gates said.

Although many players were gone, they knew the week ahead would be filled with games.

“You really worry about losing your shape if you go on vacation,” Rutter said. “We went running, and then I ran when I got back into the states.”

Rock Bridge has little time to prepare for Friday’s home game against Lindbergh, but the team hopes game experience will be beneficial.

“It was our first game,” Gates said. “It didn’t have the outcome that we wanted, but, hopefully, it will keep us motivated even more to win tomorrow.”

Rutter, with dripping wet hair, added with a laugh, “hopefully the weather’s a little bit better.”


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