SHERIDAN — Another tough result for a growing squad mounted understandable frustration for a first-year team Monday.
The Lady Generals soccer team (0-7-0) battled, controlling the run of play and out-shooting their opponent Western Nebraska 22-15, however, a penalty kick sealed a 1-0 win for Western Nebraska. Their opponent took one of their few chances, a second-half freebie awarded by the side judge, and filed their second win over SC this season.
While this time the Lady Generals showed better — WNCC (6-4-0 overall, 4-4-0 Region IX) beat them 3-0 in September — head coach Stefan Skillman knew a better result was there to be had.
“The bottom line is that we cannot out-shoot our opponents and have more corner kicks but no goals, you can’t win,” he said. “We were victims of the refs calls, but we have to finish… Within our system we lacked a couple moments with discipline where we broke down, and when you break down and you’re making a tackle from behind, the ref has no choice but to call a PK.”
As it goes with the unforgiving nature of soccer at times, lacking finish turned out to be the only thing that mattered for SC. The game was their first home contest ever after they finished an 0-6 run on the road during September.
Sheridan generated good pressure from the start as give-and-go play between Sheridan products Stephany Sessions and Macy Reid up the right wing pushed back the Lady Cougar defense. The Lady Generals, however, came away empty handed on three first-half corner kicks.
Lady Cougar shots were ranged and easily handled by Sheridan keeper Jacy Repsis, who had a solid day in goal.
The penalty kick came in the 74th minute when what looked to be a routine collision in the box turned into a free attempt from the spot. Western Nebraska’s Jordyn Seidel put the ball low and away from a diving Repsis into the bottom left corner of the net.
“It’s unfortunate that’s the only goal that was scored in the game,” Skillman said. “Obviously as a coach I want to win. I thought the girls did well. After the goal we increased pressure and I was very pleased even though we didn’t get a goal. We took some risks. We had our chances, we’ve still got to work on finishing.”
Lea Hickman, Sessions, Reid and Lynnette Nygard flooded the Lady Cougar penalty area with crosses over the final few minutes, but none were directed to the back of the net. Nearly drawing even as time wound down, Sessions stepped into a 35-yard free kick in the 85th minute, pinging the top right corner of the crossbar.
Despite the frustrating results following them home, the Lady Generals have three more games this week in Sheridan to right the ship. They will play home games Wednesday against Northwest, Friday against Otero and Saturday against Trinidad State.
Skillman has preached the importance of his team sticking to its system in the first year, building a program from mostly freshman players, new to the college game.
“Maybe the one thing we’ll do is just start pressuring more, because that works for us,” Skillman said. “We didn’t really do a good job controlling the middle of the field, which is the whole point of our system…we definitely have to go back to the drawing board and kind of redirect some plays. We’ve got some work to do. We haven’t surprised anybody yet in our conference. If we want to surprise some people we need to work harder than what we’ve been doing. We’re just showing the signs of a young team. It’s a great group, just one little break down and it’s done.”
SC had three corners and WNCC had five.