Tuesday night’s matchup between the Hickman and Rock Bridge girls’ soccer teams at Walton Stadium held many perks for both the players and the fans.
For the first time in Columbia this season, the teams stood in the middle of the field before the game to honor the singing of the National Anthem. There was also an announcer to introduce the players and important plays throughout the game and to post the score and statistics on a lit scoreboard, another first of the season. And the fans enjoyed stadium seating, an upgrade from the grassy hill at Cosmopolitan Park.
But for the Kewpies (10-6-4) and the Bruins (9-6-6), the change was perhaps too far out of their comfort zone. Neither team was able to score in 80 minutes of regulation play. Rock Bridge eventually won the game, 1-0, in overtime with a penalty kick from Erin Bucko.
Hickman outshot Rock Bridge 13-7, but wasn’t able to get the ball in the net. Hickman senior Kelsey McClure, who leads her team in scoring with 13 goals, said the performance was not typical.
“They just didn’t go in,” she said. “They either weren’t the right shots or the keeper got to them.”
Hickman and Rock Bridge met earlier this season at the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Classic. The game ended 2-2 after two ten-minute overtimes.
“Both teams go out there giving it one hundred percent,” Bucko said. “Nobody wants to let that ball go in the net.”
It was only the second time the team has beaten Hickman in three years of regular and post-season play. In last year’s regular-season matchup, McClure scored a goal in the first fifteen seconds of the game. The Kewpies went on to win the game 3-0.
Tuesday night, McClure once again took possession of the ball in the first seconds of play. Her shot was wide, allowing Rock Bridge fans to exhale the breath they held everytime she had the ball.
In addition to taking more shots, Hickman also out-fouled the Rock Bridge 7-5. Kewpies Kendall Foss and Megan Darter were issued yellow cards. Foss’ foul came in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Darter was given the card in overtime play for a foul near the Hickman goal that resulted in Bucko’s penalty kick. Bucko, who is the Rock Bridge go-to girl for penalty kicks, said she always gets nervous walking up to the line.
“I missed my first penalty kick in a game this weekend so I was concerned,” she said. “I knew if I made it the game would be over. I always try to pick a corner and go for that.”
And this time it worked.
The game could be a preview of upcoming district play. If Rock Bridge wins its first round game against Camdenton at Cosmopolitan Park on Monday, it will face top-seeded Hickman on Wednesday.
Bucko said she hopes to see the team again.
“We haven’t played Camdenton before and neither has Hickman, so I’m not sure what to expect,” she said. “But I know we’ll go out there giving it 100 percent.”
McClure said a matchup would not have the same results.
“We’re definitely going to go out there more prepared than we were tonight,” she said.