COLUMBIA — The Hickman girls soccer team lost to the Blue Springs South Jaguars 2-1 in a rematch of last year's district championship match.
With just over a minute remaining in Saturday’s match, Hickman sophomore Olivia Lopez drove her foot beneath the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box.
The ball spun and looped just over a fingertip and just under the crossbar.
The sophomore swung out her arms in celebration as she ran toward teammates. In that moment, it barely mattered that her team still trailed by a goal.
It was a reminder that these are high school kids playing soccer for fun.
“She's just one of my favorite kids out here,” Hickman coach Adam Taylor said.
Lopez’s goal was Hickman’s only one of the weekend. The Kewpies (3-5-2) lost to Lindbergh 3-0 Friday evening.
“We’ve got to find a way to get the ball into the net,” Taylor said. “In the last two games, we’ve had a lot of corners and we haven’t been dangerous on any of them.”
On Saturday, the Kewpies struggled to be dangerous in any situation, and the Jaguars were strong in the box and cleared balls well.
It was the same type of tight defense that won the Jaguars the last year’s district championship game 1-0.
Both teams have strong defenses, but going into the season, Taylor believed attacking could be a strength of the Kewpies this year.
The team has four goals in its last 11 games.
“We have to improve on our possession and sending it up to the forwards more,” freshman Cassie Kent said. “We’ve been working on it every day, and we’re going to be perfect by the time we get to districts.”
Although Kent often plays in the open field, on Saturday she was in the net, taking Hickman basketball star Emily Miller’s usual spot.
This is the first season Kent has played goalkeeper, and she admits it’s still a bit scary.
“It gets a little nerve-racking when it’s that close of a game and they’re just coming at you,” Kent said. “The hardest thing was trying to get myself to actually dive for it.”
Miller plays basketball year-round, so she often misses weekend matches for the Kewpies.
She will, however, be back in the net for Wednesday’s rivalry matchup against Rock Bridge.
The Bruins beat Blue Springs South 2-0 on Friday and fell to Lindbergh 1-0 on Saturday. Taylor knows his team has a tall task ahead of them.
“We’ve got a lot to prove to ourselves after this weekend,” Taylor said.
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.