SHS rallies past P.B.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs soccer team picked up a big conference win at home on Monday night, with a 2-1 comeback win over the Poplar Bluff Lady Mules.
Sikeston scored two late goals by Abbi Keefer and Allison Blurton to get past the Lady Mules. Blurton's goal was scored with under six minutes to play in the contest.
At the 74:00 mark, Keefer attempted a pass to Blurton in the Lady Bulldogs offensive end. Poplar Bluff had several defenders in the area and the Keefer pass went off a Bluff defender and Blurton eventually secured the pass.
Weaving through several defenders, Blurton found herself open for a shot and she put the ball past Poplar Bluff goalie Megan Stucker for the game-winning.
"Just a great play by a great athlete," said Sikeston head coach Derrick Long. "That is one of our pluses on the team, just get the ball to the gazelle. Poplar Bluff was bodying her hard and she fought all night. Alli is not all about speed, she can play a physical game if it should arise."
The first half was dominated by Sikeston as they outshot Poplar Bluff 10-4 in the half. Even though the Lady Bulldogs controlled the offensive tempo in the half, the game remained scoreless at the intermission.
The Lady Mules scored the first goal of the game eight minutes into the second half, as Charlotte Garcia put the ball past Sikeston keeper Paige Silverthorn. Chelsea Garner made a nice pass to Garcia for the assist for Poplar Bluff.
"The first 10 minutes of the second half they came out pushing the ball," said Long. "We made a mistake in the backfield and didn't clear the ball. Our sweeper usually does a nice job of clearing the ball, but on that play it only went two feet. They got it back and put it in."
Sikeston tied the game 1-1 after the Keefer goal at the 58:00 mark. Keefer made some outstanding moves to slide past Poplar Bluff defenders and score the goal. Jordi Ferrell had the assist for the Lady Bulldogs.
Even though the lapse on defense is concerning for Long, the goal by Keefer seemed to change the course of the match.
"Seems like we have a mistake a game and that mistake usually cost us," said Long. "We have to snuff that out, especially when we get to districts and teams who score one goal will shut it down. I was afraid Poplar Bluff would do the same after the goal they scored. I thought they would put a couple of extra players in back there. However, they left some open lanes for us. Abbi juked three girls for her goal and that got our momentum up."
The Lady Mules offense was bottled up by the Sikeston defense and only managed 10 shots in the contest.
"I felt we battled the entire game," said Poplar Bluff head coach Mark Papp. "Sikeston is a much improved team over the last few years. I am not going to waste time making excuses, we just didn't do enough to win tonight."
Long singled freshman Ariel Reynolds as doing yeoman work on the Lady Mules leading scorer Kristin Ploetze.
"We put Ariel on Ploetze and she just held her down," said Long. "I think she only got a couple of shots the entire game. This is the second game in a row where we put Ariel on the other teams best player and she has held them down pretty good. She is just doing a nice job for us as a freshman."
Poplar Bluff (5-11-1) had last chance run on goal as time was running down in the match. A Lady Mule took the ball down the field and shot it across the pitch in front of the goal. Silverthorn made a nice diving stop to her left in goal to put down the threat for Sikeston.
"Just a good save by Paige as the ball was coming across the mouth," said Long, "anytime you get in that situation a nice play was needed. There was not anybody coming in on her, but if it would have squirted away you never know what could have happen."
In the junior varsity match, Sikeston (3-3-1) downed Poplar Bluff 3-1. Caitlin Underwood, Megan Underhill and Brittany Jenkins had the three goals for the Lady Bulldogs.
Courtney Cook had two assists and Underwood recorded an assist. Emily Martin recorded the victory in goal for Sikeston.
Sikeston (8-12, 3-3) travels to Farmington today with the junior varsity match to start at 5 p.m.