Seniors Kelsey McClure and Kim Foster were all smiles as they jogged off the soccer field after a 6-1 win over Helias (3-3-1) Monday night. Both Hickman girls matched their scoring totals from last year, scoring three goals apiece in the Kewpies’ seventh game of the season.
McClure scored her ninth goal of the season with six minutes left in the game. She attributes her success to more offensive playing time this season. She took over in central midfield, replacing Janelle Cordia who now plays for the Missouri soccer team. McClure was quick to give credit to her back-field support.
“Our defense is really strong,” she said. “They’ve all been playing together for a long time.”
Sophomore Melissa Young scored for Helias in the 27th minute. The goal was the second of the season scored against the Kewpies (6-0-1).
Hickman coach Jon Strodtman said the season and the team are still young.
“I really don’t think we’ve been challenged yet,” he said. “We’re playing a very good team on Thursday. If after that we can say we’ve only allowed a few goals, then we have something to be proud of.”
The Kewpies’ opponent Thursday is defending state champion St. Teresa’s Academy. Foster said the game will likely be Hickman’s hardest of the season.
“The win tonight should boost our confidence,” she said. “As long as we don’t let last year’s game intimidate us.”
The Kewpies fell to St. Teresa’s 5-0 last year. Strodtman blamed himself for the loss. He said that many of his starters were injured and he hadn’t trained the girls properly to play different positions.
“The girls tried really hard. They just couldn’t mesh,” he said. “There was confusion of where they should be and what they should be doing.”
He said he was confident this season that they would be prepared.
“Unfortunately the scoring output last year was not the highest,” he said. “You can teach them the technique and show them where to put the ball, but you can’t get a kid to score,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s not a coaching thing. The girls have to say ‘I have to take this opportunity.’ This year, (the team has) decided it works.”
Strodtman said his team still has a lot of work ahead of it, but that he is confident in its potential for success.
“I want to teach the girls to put their best foot forward so they can be proud no matter what the outcome is,” he said. “If you play your best game, you’re not a loser. You’re just on the wrong end of the score. You just go out there and play good soccer against a good team and see who comes out ahead.”