Hickman was ready coming into Wednesday night’s game against Rock Bridge and it showed.
The Kewpies waited only 15 seconds before taking the upper hand.
The ball bounced around in a mass of players after the kickoff before midfielder Kelsey McClure took control and fired a shot past the Rock Bridge goalie to gain an early lead.
“Everything went right and I wasn’t expecting it but it worked,” McClure said. “That’s never happened to me. It was pretty great.”
The goal set the tone and the Bruins never recovered, falling 3-0 to the Kewpies in a physical game at Cosmopolitan Park.
In the first half, Karissa Nedoma slammed into Hickman goalkeeper Jade Mills on a breakaway.
The official gave her a yellow card, the first card handed out in a home game this year for either team.
In the 38th minute, Hickman’s Caitlin Keith raced toward the goal, outmaneuvering a Rock Bridge defender and edging past the goalkeeper, who fell to the ground in an attempt to stop Keith’s shot. The goal brought the lead to three.
“Our kids are physical players,” Hickman coach Jon Strodtman said.
“They’re strong athletes. They came out and did their job and they were rewarded from it.”
“We realized that we had to play physical ball,” senior midfielder Janelle Cordia said. “We had an aggressive attitude going into the game.”
The tension in the air seemed almost tangible. Angry fans from both sides urged on their team while yelling at officials for better calls.
Although the Kewpies (8-4-3) won in an impressive fashion, Strodtman was quick to note that the upcoming Class 2 District 10 tournament is more important than the rivalry with Rock Bridge (10-6).
Strodtman said, “The girls have to buckle down and say ‘hey, who was No. 4 in the state last year.’ It was us. We still have things to prove to ourselves.”
After last year’s impressive season, in which Hickman reached the state semifinals, Strodtman doesn’t feel pressured in his first year as coach.
“There’s a desire,” Strodtman said. “But pressure, no.”
“We’ve played to win in games this season that we did not win. But we have a mission and we have to get it done.”
The Kewpies have one game left before the district tournament May 14 in Jefferson City.