Maybe the Hickman and Rock Bridge girls soccer teams were confused by the permanent football lines on the artificial turf. Or maybe it was the chilly, fall-like weather during Monday night’s scoreless tie at Hickman.
Either way, the physical play on the field looked more like a football game than a soccer game.
“This was by far the most physical game we’ve played yet this season,” Rock Bridge coach Kelly Gates said.
The action on the field resulted in numerous fouls and two yellow cards, both called on Hickman. The physical style was exemplified by senior forward Caitlin Keith, who received one of the yellow cards. She admitted that she has had problems staying out of trouble in past seasons, explaining that she was booked five times her sophomore year. The only reason she did not increase that total her junior year was because of a lengthy injury. While she said that Hickman is normally a physical team, the nature of the play in Monday’s game surprised her.
“It started to get more physical then most of our games,” Keith said. “It just got really intense.”
She said that the rivalry with Rock Bridge added to the rough play.
“You just want to score so bad,” she said. “You just have to be out there. People are talking to you, and you’re like, ‘Ah’.”
Keith added that when she does get booked, Hickman coach Jon Strodtman has to remind her to stay in control. Gates said that her team usually plays under control, so she wasn’t worried about any of her players receiving cards.
“Our girls are pretty calm and collected, none of them were retaliating,” Gates said.
The physical play also added to both teams’ fatigue, which became evident once 20 minutes were added for overtime. While scoring chances were few during regulation, both teams had easy scoring opportunities in the extra periods as the quality of play deteriorated. Keith found herself with an open run to the goal in the third minute of overtime. She passed to teammate Michelle Lowery, who subsequently hit the left post with her shot.
Rock Bridge had a similar opportunity minutes later. The shot, however, was deflected by a Hickman player, setting up a corner kick for Rock Bridge’s Erin Bucko, which hit the far post and was cleared by Hickman.
Gates said that even though the game did not end with a victory, she was happy with her team’s performance.
“They gave it their all, they played really well,” Gates said. “The passed well, moved the ball well.
“Every now and then, we had our poor decision making, but what team doesn’t?”
The tie moves Hickman to 3-6-1 and Rock Bridge goes to 2-2-1. The Bruins play at 7 p.m. tonight against Jefferson City at Rock Bridge.