COLUMBIA — The Hickman girls soccer team dominated Tuesday's game in everything but the score.
Out of 80 minutes of play, it took Pembroke Hill 10 to beat Hickman 2-1 in the Kewpies' home opener at LeMone Field.
The Raiders' goals came 10 minutes apart in the first part of the second half. Both were direct free kicks, consequences of defensive fouls.
The Kewpies defense had improved from its 10-0 loss Saturday. They weren't shy about winning loose balls, and coach Tony Gragnani said their number of shots on goal was up.
"Regardless of the score, we made some positive steps," Gragnani said. "The score can't measure that."
Regardless of improvement, the Kewpies couldn't help hanging their heads after the game, muttering in unison "yes" when asked by Gragnani if they felt better than they did after Saturday's game.
The Kewpies wanted to win.
With 1:30 left on the clock, Hickman junior Nicole Drenton scored, and the Kewpies regained possession after the kick-off. Sixteen seconds were left when senior Aubrey Winn's corner kick crossed to senior Emily Darter, who shot unsuccessfully as time ran out.
"We pushed to the very last minute," freshman Erika Storvick said. "We didn't do what we needed to do, but it made us better as a team."
Storvick shot a rocket from outside the 18-yard box to start the first half. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar of the football goal post directly above the top post of the soccer goal. The view from the stands was not telling, and unsure fans began cheering.
"It built my confidence," Storvick said. "I felt like even though I'm a freshman on the team, I can still step up and possibly make a difference in the game."
Both of Pembroke Hill's goals were scored by Camille Christie. Pembroke consistently fed Christie long balls up the field, and the Kewpies recognized her threat early on.
"The girls realized she's a playmaker," Gragani said. "They (the Raiders) were trying to kick the ball over us a lot, but we got back. Our athleticism was coming through.
"We had our chances but we didn't finish. We have a team so young that's getting acclimated to the varsity level. Losing is never good, but today we made a lot of big steps in the right direction."