For the first time at home this season, the Hickman girls’ soccer team was the one shut out.
Unable to use their normal rotation, the Kewpies lost 5-0 to the St. Teresa’s Academy Stars on Thursday at Cosmopolitan Park. Coach Jon Strodtman put the blame on himself.
“It probably was more my fault than it was the kids’ fault,” Strodtman said. “I didn’t have players in the places where we needed them at the time.”
Hickman (4-2), which has beaten Camdenton and Moberly 5-0 at home this season, was short four starters. Young bench players had to step up to fill in the gaps.
Senior Megan McCabe and three others weren’t able to play for non-disciplinary reasons. Junior Kelsey McClure had to play on a swollen leg that resulted from a cut she received in a game last week.
“It was a different team and people were playing different positions,” McClure said. “It was just hard to put everything together.”
Strodtman agreed it was hard to place the underclassmen.
“Part of it was that we had personnel in places were they weren’t comfortable,” Strodtman said. “We called up some young kids without any game experience and just kind of forced them into playing.”
Freshman Liz Gayer and senior Samantha Gelbad had to move out of their usual positions, but Strodtman was very pleased with their performances.
“Sammy (Gelbad), we moved her into the back second half and she really did a good job for us,” Strodtman said. “We moved Liz from the center to the outside and she was exceptional. She was a warrior.”
St. Teresa’s aggressive, tenacious defense kept the Kewpies from scoring. Not even the tremendous speed of Hickman’s Caitlin Keith could get past the Stars’ speedy defenders.
Early in the first half, Keith raced down the field with none of her teammates within 50 yards. Two Stars defenders quickly came from behind, collapsing on Keith while the goalie aggressively ran toward her and snatched the ball.
At the half, Hickman trailed 3-0, much of which Strodtman credited to the Kewpies’ lack of hustle.
“We didn’t hustle in the first half, but in the second half we came out and said ‘hey, let’s do this,’” he said.
“We played much better second half. We were more aggressive and we were connecting a little bit more with our passes.”
Their effort wasn’t enough.
“It was frustrating,” McClure said with a sigh. “We came back pretty strong second half and we wanted it more than they did, but it just didn’t work out for us.”
Senior midfielder Janelle Cordia took a positive away from the loss.
“I think it was a good learning experience for us to get out there and play good competition and see what we have to look forward to,” she said.