Recently the Mexico varsity girls soccer team have found themselves competing in unfriendly territory, so the fact they got to play Mondays game on Chris Hotop Field was a bit of a relief.
While every contest is important for a program that's trying to establish its identity, this game held extra meaning because it was a North Central Missouri Conference matchup against Kirksville that featured the Lady Tigers taking an early 1-0 lead. The Lady Bulldogs were also forced to step up and make first half stops at 8:52 and 4:46, which they did, but because things also got somewhat hectic after halftime, Kirksville kept coming after Mexico until finally winning 3-0.
"This was the first time we've seen our home field in a while, so that was definitely a change. Kirksville got a goal early, probably about the initial four minutes of the game," said Mexico coach Haley Schafer. "There was some miscommunication on our part and I think that changed our mental state for a while. It's a lot different when you're up or when you're tied than when you're down. Playing from behind tends to be difficult. That put us in a bad position. We struggled putting the ball in the air."
In the second half the Lady Bulldogs came out and immediately got a shot on goal at 39:52. The Lady Tigers responded with scores as 34:37 and 27:58. Kirksville also made a strong push for another score at 32:06, but Mexico was able to come together as a team to lay that effort to rest as quickly as it came to fruition.
"We struggled with winning the ball then transitioning from offense to defense. From here we need to practice winning the ball," Schafer said, "We're going to be practicing winning the ball in the air a lot. We've seen every conference team once, so we've kind of gotten a preview of what each team has to offer and now we're coming up on the back end of the league schedule"
Coming up for the Lady Bulldogs on May 5th is the 20th Anniversary of Mexico Soccer. As such, all veterans of the program are invited and snacks and refreshments will be available at no charge.
Next up for Mexico is a NCMC game at Hannibal on Thursday.