With three shots on goal within the first three minutes of Tuesday’s game, Hickman was unrelenting in its attack as speed and constant movement were the focal point of the team’s game plan as they pushed past Jefferson City 4-0.
“If you’re not moving ... you should be doing something else,” Hickman coach Wil Ross shared at half. “We are moving the ball really well, moving it quickly and have guys willing to get into position to take advantage of what we’re doing. If you’re moving the ball well, it gets really difficult to defend.”
Hickman junior Leif Kammer scored twice, once off a penalty kick, further emphasized the importance of quick ball movement.
“Keeping control of the ball is critical,” Kammer said. “It let us put multiple shots on goal early. While we didn’t get any shots in the net, eventually, the pressure, it wears out the defense and goalkeeper and that’s when we found our goals.”
The Kewpies carried over the attack into the second half, finding two more goals five minutes in. But even with the final score standing at 4-0, Hickman had missed out on some key opportunities early that could’ve led to an even more dominant finish.
“We had multiple chances and attempts early, but it was easy to read,” Ross said . “Going forward, I want them to get more creative, diversify that attack and show different options that have to be defended against. It will be a focal point moving forward.”
Hickman (3-1) has also taken advantage of another strength they possess: A roster full of seniors and experience. With 13 seniors on the active varsity roster, senior Mohammed Lehmedi said “the experience has really shown through.”
“In our first game this season we lost, but we played it close,” he said. “Since then we got, four goals, then five goals, then another four tonight. We play well with each other, and these games help show the younger guys how things work and how they need to play.”
Ross mentioned how crucial the team’s seniority has been early in the season and the advantages it brings.
“We started at a higher starting point compared to a lot of other teams,” he said. “Having those expectations and knowing what to do early on helps us get to the peak faster. It really helps early in the season because we can catch teams off guard.”
Going forward in the season, and even onto future seasons, Ross made clear the importance experience brings off the field as well.
“When you graduate, and see the guys who are underneath you play well, you feel like you’re still a part of it,” he said. “These seniors embrace the younger kids, you really want your seniors to be awesome on and off the field to help develop the younger players.”