There were many opportunities, but defensive miscues and poor offensive choices hurt the Kewpies.
The Hickman lacrosse team lost to Parkway South 5-3 on Saturday at Cosmopolitan Park.
The Kewpies scored in the third quarter to tie at 2. Hickman had trailed 2-0 after the Patriots scored in the first half and early in the third quarter.
Attacker Chris Hurst scored for Hickman midway through the third quarter. A few minutes later, midfielder Caleb Bohlmeyer scored from the point.
Hickman’s comeback came to an abrupt halt, though, late in the quarter when Patriots attacker Chris Whitehead scored off an uncharacteristic dropped ball by Hickman goalie Brad Thompson.
Thompson had been trying to make an outlet pass, and his defensive line was downfield by the time anyone realized Whitehead had the ball.
“That stuff happens,” Hickman coach Jamie Mullen said. “Our team didn’t hang on that. I think (Thompson) bounced back.”
The mistake was the first in a series of Hickman breakdowns, including two offsides penalties.
Hickman appeared confident possessing the ball in the first half, but the Patriots had control for most of the second.
Parkway South’s Chris Nagel, a junior, scored twice in the fourth quarter, securing the win for the Patriots.
Hickman senior Mike Moesel scored in the closing minutes for the Kewpies, but his effort came too late.
In the second half, the Patriots were able to penetrate and take close shots on Thompson.
“We tried to move the ball around quickly so we could get close shots,” Patriots coach James Akers said. “Outside shots can get knocked down and the goalie can see them more easily. It was easier for us to just go inside.”
Hickman settled for shots from the point. Despite outshooting the Patriots 24-16, the Kewpies were unable to penetrate or get shots in transition.
The Kewpies also struggled to get shots on the ground, which are generally harder for goalies to handle.
Mullen said the Kewpies have to learn to exploit most goalies’ inability to deal with shots on the ground.
“We got a lot of shots from up top, but unfortunately we just kept hitting the goalie in the stick,” Mullen said. “I thought we did better today at putting on pressure, but shot placement is still something we have to work on.”
Despite struggles with injuries and tough early season opponents, there are indications Hickman is moving in the right direction. Freshman Aron White’s emergence has been one of the most promising signs.
White’s physical play and passing ability have quickly elevated him to a leadership role on the young defense. White had the majority of Hickman’s clears against the Patriots.
“(Aron) is only a freshman and we expect big things,” Mullen said. “He’s a superstar athlete. He’s a top-flight basketball player, and we’re glad to have him.”