Mexico loses to Hannibal 1-0
After routing Kirksville 4-0 Monday night in the first round of district play, Bulldogs soccer faced much tougher competition from the top-seeded Hannibal Pirates Tuesday, losing 1-0 to end the season.
"This loss hurts, as any one of our players would tell you. This is our third loss to Hannibal in the season, all by one goal," head coach Grant Johnston said. "The fact of the matter is that unless you're state champions, your season ultimately ends in a loss and it hurts.
"We set out this year to win a district championship. This was our expectation. Although we didn't meet our expectation, we think we meet the expectation of the surrounding community, by giving them the best season Mexico Soccer has ever had."
As in previous losses to Hannibal, the Bulldogs played well and were never out of the game. Despite adverse weather and tough, physical play from the Pirates the Bulldogs continued attacking until the final seconds ticked off the game clock.
"One thing I lectured the boys about before the game is control. We cannot control the weather, we cannot control the referee's calls, and we cannot control the skill level of the other team," Johnston said. "What we could control is our effort, and if we gave our full effort for the 80 minutes of the game, we would be able to hold our heads up high regardless of the outcome. The boys gave their full effort."
The Pirates' lone goal came in the second half on a penalty kick.
"Hannibal was awarded a penalty kick after a questionable call," Johnston said. "The shot was perfectly placed, giving our keeper Tyler Warmbrodt no chance to save it. Our attack generated few opportunities, although the game felt very balanced with both teams sharing the command of the game."
The Bulldogs finish the season with a 14-11 record, setting a school record for wins in a season.
"It's hard to reflect on the entire season after a loss is so fresh in our minds. What the guys will remember is the unity of the team and the sacrifice they gave to one another to achieve each other's goals," Johnston said. "One belief I hold firm is that high school athletics is the most authentic team experience in the world. It's a group of young men from a community joining together for a common cause, playing for themselves, each other, and the community they represent. The 2013 Boys Soccer team was no exception. It's an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives."