There’s no question wins and losses are a measure of success. But it’s the intangibles that aid in that measure. The Hillsboro varsity girls soccer team traveled to Camdenton for the 12th Annual Central Missouri Soccer Invitational and came away with a 2-0-1 record. Along with that, the memories and opportunities to bond may have been as successful as their play on the field.
Friday, the Hawks downed Father Tolton, 3-2 (see story at Father Tolton Game Recap) on Friday. The team was challenged with two games on Saturday, the first coming against the host team Camdenton Lady Lakers. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, but head coach Chris Schacht said his team had opportunities to come away with a victory. “I think it’s a game we should have won, but when you play three games in 26 hours, it can be more difficult than that,” he admitted. “With the outcome, it still set us up for a chance to win our pool outright. The girls played an exceptional first half, and then leveled off a little in the second, possibly knowing we had to play a few hours later. We are experimenting with a few changes in formation, so that probably also played a part as well, so that’s on me. Anytime we shut the other team out, that’s always a good thing.”
Kenzie Baker made seven saves in net, keeping the Lady Lakers off the scoreboard. Hillsboro was actually outshot 7-4 in the match. But their title hopes were still alive heading into the final game of the tournament.
The next opponent was the Sikeston Bulldogs. The Hawks won 1-0 on a goal by Raechel Hamilton with 17:44 to go in the game. Hamilton’s goal may come as surprise to some, seeing as she plays defense. However, Coach Schacht moved her to striker just in time for the game winning goal. “The position switch was a surprise to me,” Hamilton admitted. “I heard my teammate, Jensen, come on the field and say my name, and I thought I was going out for a break. But it turns out I was moved up top. I have played up top before, but I’m not as good as my other teammates up there. It took me a couple tries to get the goal, but if you keep shooting the ball, it will go in eventually. I remember looking up right before I shot the ball and saw the goalie was closer to me. The far post was open, so I shot and aimed for the far post, and it went in.”
Coach Schacht said the Hawks asserted themselves the entire match. “It was a game that we dominated from beginning to end, but it was hard to get through their back line,” he said. “It seemed it was almost an 8-2 type of formation with lots of bodies packing it in. It was hard to move around them with the ball and shoot through that type of traffic.”
Unfortunately, the victory wasn’t enough to win the pool, even though the Hawks and Baker pitched another shutout. “Back-to-back clean sheets on the same day is great, but we came up a little short of winning the pool outright due to the third tiebreaker,” Coach Schacht explained. The first tiebreaker was head-to-head, and we tied Camdenton. The second tiebreaker was goals against, and we tied with Camdenton on that as well. The third tiebreaker was goals scored, and they scored one with four seconds left in their third game which was the deciding factor. Had they not scored that goal, we would have won on the fourth tiebreaker which was shutouts, and we had two to their one. So point-wise, we tied at the top of the table in pool play, but ended up runners-up due to the third tiebreaker.”
That can’t diminish the good things that team accomplished on the weekend, especially the play of Baker. Two shutouts by a young lady that had never been a goalie until this season, is a testament to her development throughout the year. “My comfort level is definitely going up,” Baker commented. “I’m starting to think of the goal as my home. I have to give thanks to Coach Nansel for being an amazing coach and always pushing me. And I am definitely enjoying soccer. It is maybe the most fun sport I’ve ever played. The girls are awesome, and I’m super grateful Coach Schacht asked me to play this year.”
That last statement is also a reason a tournament like this is so beneficial. It goes far beyond the play on the field. “A good thing about the tournament is it’s always a good team builder as we approach the end of the season,” Schacht explains. “The girls have lots of fun on and off the field together. Just spending time at the hotel, going out to eat, and doing a little shopping at the outlet mall always seems to help at this time of year, since prom is approaching, graduation is around the corner, and so are finals.”
Colleen Theiss agrees. “We had a lot of fun. We all went shopping at the outlet mall next to our hotel. Saturday, after all of our games, we went to a restaurant called Pappo’s. We enjoyed pizza, and we danced. Both of our coaches even joined in on the dancing. We had a good time, and it was a fun team bonding experience.”
“All in all, it was a good trip, and we look to get back at it on Tuesday,” said Schacht. Tuesday, the Hawks, now 10-6-1, travel to DeSoto for a game against the Dragons. Then Thursday they’ll be at Perryville, and close out the week on Friday at Affton.