Rock Bridge’s Claire Schaeper-koetter’s eyes got wide as she tried to score the second goal of her young soccer career.
Minutes into Rock Bridge’s opening game of the season against Hannibal, freshman Jeanna Ross had centered the ball to Schaeper-koetter.
But she kicked the ball over the goal instead of adding to the Bruins’ 1-0 lead.
“I think that was just a little bit of being nervous in my first game as a freshman,” Schaeperkoetter said. “I saw the ball and the wide-open goal, and I guess I got a little too excited and put a little too much on the ball.”
That was one of the rare times the Bruins would miss the goal, however, as they routed Hannibal 7-0 on Tuesday night at Cosmopolitan Park.
The Bruins, coming off a 15-8-1 finish and a loss to Hickman in the district finals, began this season as coach Marc VanDover hoped they would. With three seniors and three juniors, Rock Bridge is a team dominated by underclassmen.
“I think any win this year is going to be huge,” VanDover said. “I have a lot of young kids, and we’re playing all different positions that we’ve never played before. I moved them around a lot tonight, and I was really pleased with their effort, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Bruins looked to be in top form already, though, routinely dribbling and passing the ball through defenders and dominating possession all night.
“I was really pleased, it being the first game,” VanDover said. “Oddly enough, we have not worked with the front players that much yet, but that’s their natural position. I think they’ll get stronger and stronger as they play with each other more and know what each other is doing.”
Junior Karissa Nedoma scored three goals in the win, and she also accounted for two assists.
“It was really exciting,” Nedoma said. “It was really a big booster for me as well as the whole team just to show that we can do it and we can put out a strong club this season.”
Freshman Alex Litofsky and sophomore Emily Crowe also scored for Rock Bridge. Although Schaeperkoetter missed one chance at scoring her second goal, she redeemed herself later, scoring in the opening minutes of the second half.
“It’s pretty exciting, but it does kind of set the bar pretty high for the rest of the year, not only for me individually, but for the entire team,” Schaeperkoetter said. “We know we have to keep working so we can keep coming out here and dominating.”