SHERIDAN — Sheridan College soccer opened the season against Utah State University Eastern on Saturday, losing both matches against the Golden Eagles.
In the first match of the day, the Lady Generals lost 1-0 in heartbreaking fashion, allowing the ball into the back of the net with only a minute left in the game. The Lady Generals were the more aggressive team in the game, dominating the possession of the ball.
“You do not ever want to lose that way,” SC head coach Mallery Hammer said. “Especially in a game where you possess the ball eighty percent of the time, having chance after chance to score and then let up in the final minute.”
Games will not get easier against region opponents, Hammer said. The Lady Generals learned a valuable lesson about playing the full 90 minutes of the game and letting up early can lead to a loss.
The Lady Generals missed out on opportunities to score, with 14 shots on goal. Hammer thought at least one or two goals should have been scored by her team.
The failure to score in a game puts the pressure on the defense of the Lady Generals, forcing the back four and goalkeeper to have a flawless game, something that is nearly impossible to ask of them.
Hammer knows the team will need to do some soul searching to bounce back from this game.
“I talked to the captains and I said, ‘A loss like that can divide you or unify you,’ and I hope it is the latter, and I think it will be,” Hammer said.
Hammer saw a solid game from Eyker Millan and thought Chelsea Thornburgh had a great performance in the center midfield position. Thornburgh was all over the field and played well in all areas of the pitch, something that is difficult to do, Hammer said.
When the Generals took the field for the second match of the day, only 10 players were able to play. The Generals has to sit players waiting on transcripts coming from previous schools, players serving disciplinary sentences from a year ago and one player sitting due to a red card in the championship match last season.
Hammer layed out the options to the Generals, letting them decide what path to take.
“We had a group discussion about it earlier in the week,” Hammer said. “I told them we can do a couple of things. We can make it an unofficial scrimmage, playing the guys who are ineligible but then we will not be able to have certain players serve suspension because it has to be an official game to do that. So I said, ‘It is on you guys. If you want to do an official game we can run 10 and that is all we have.’ That is what they selected to do and I thought it was a brave decision.”
The Generals knew USU Eastern is a talented team with a deep bench. The Generals lost 2-0, giving up two early goals in the fourth minute and 23rd minute. Hammer said early jitters and having players playing defense that usually do no play along the backline led to the two goals. USU Eastern kept the pressure on SC the entire game. The Generals held firm and did not let the Golden Eagles score any more goals.
Being a man down tested the Generals’ conditioning and grit. Hammer said she had a player run off the field, throw-up and immediately return to the action.
Hammer said this group of guys has been a coach’s dream because of how hard they work every day and the passion they bring with them.
Hammer said there were two or three great opportunities missed by the Generals to score goals and wants to make sure they are capitalized on in the future.
“Overall it was such a great performance,” Hammer said. “I do not know if I have ever said that about a loss. I think for us it was a win today. We were able to serve those suspensions, stay healthy and keep a very tough team to two goals and scoreless in the second half when you are already tired.”
The Generals, 0-1 to start the season, will have about two weeks before their next match Sept. 7 against Central Community College-Columbus in Grand Island Nebraska.
The Lady Generals, 0-1, are back on the road, playing College of Southern Nevada Aug. 29.