COLUMBIA — The Hickman girls soccer team is winless no more.
The Kewpies (1-12-1) won for the first time this season on Monday, beating St. Francis Borgia 3-2.
Monday was also Senior Night for the Kewpies, and fittingly, it was senior Emily Darter who delivered the winning goal.
Darter started playing soccer when she was 5 years old and has been a starter for Hickman all four years.
With the game tied 2-2 and eight minutes remaining, Darter got into the box and kicked a shot that bounced off the inside of the left goalpost and into the net.
The Hickman crowd erupted after the goal. It was the first time Hickman had led all game, so parents and classmates cheered loudly, some even jumping out of their seats. One woman blew her vuvuzela.
"It was crazy adrenaline — I just really wanted to win for senior night," Darter said.
Eight minutes later, the crowd cheered and the vuvuzela sounded again as the Kewpies left the field as winners for the first time this season.
"Any time you win it feels great," Hickman coach Tony Gragnani said. "Obviously, this one, I think the girls feel like the burden is off their back."
Hickman had only led in two other games this season, and the team had only scored more than one goal in just two games.
At the Hickman tournament last weekend, the Kewpies dropped all three contests, and we're shut out in two of them.
"It's been so frustrating," Darter said. "It felt like nothing was going our way."
But they never folded.
"We haven't changed our work ethic, we haven't quit, we haven't called it a season, and the girls have kept putting in time, and that's what helped them get this win tonight," Gragnani said.
Gragnani and Darter both said they think that Monday being Senior Night added some extra motivation.
"We kind of put pressure on (the underclassmen), and they came through for us," Darter said.
Junior Jessie Loch scored a penalty kick in the first half, and sophomore Allison Anderson scored off of a pass into the box in the second half. Both goals tied the game before Darter hit the winner.
On Thursday, Hickman faces rival Rock Bridge, and next week the Kewpies will play in the district tournament.
"I know that this team, when they can play their game, they're good," Gragnani said. "Record doesn't mean anything when districts hit. It's a new season."