The Rolla girls soccer team (7-7-3) hosted #9 Webster Groves for a matchup on Friday, April 26. The Lady Bulldogs got in an early hole and couldn't quite climb out in a 6-1 loss.
The game got off to a bit of a late start after Webster Groves ran into some bus trouble, but that didn't slow down the Lady Statesmen. Webster Groves got out to an early lead with a goal by Ellie Paloucek in the 10th minute. The followed with a goal off of a corner five minutes later. That lead kept expanding with goals in the 19th, 30th and 31st minutes to take a 5-0 lead over the Lady Bulldogs. Webster Groves led 6-0, before Rolla was able to get on the board in the 62nd minute. Abby Turner was able to score in her first game since getting a concussion against Union. She missed seven games and came back with the goal off an assist from Mercedez Carpenter. Webster Groves on the game 6-1.
While Rolla would've hoped for a closer game, head coach Mike Howard doesn't put Webster Groves on the schedule because they're trying to stack up wins. Games against the top teams in the state helps the Lady Bulldogs get better as they prepare for the postseason.
"If I wanted to accumulate wins, I could set up a schedule where we could do that," said coach Howard. "We didn't quit...I was proud of our girls for competing and the last 15 minutes, even though it's against some of their second players, I thought we started to put some passes together, which is tough to do all the time. We lost 6-1, but I'm pleased with our effort and we got better. That's the idea right? To get better every day."
Turner's return to the lineup was probably Rolla's biggest positive in the game, as she showed how important her lightning fast speed is to the Lady Bulldog offense. Coach Howard hopes her return can help spark an offense that's struggled to get going for most of the season.
"It's huge. We've missed her the last seven games a great deal," said the Rolla head coach. "She comes back in this Webster Groves game and she scores a goal. Good to have her back for sure."
This coming week is going to be crucial for Rolla, as it will decide who wins the Ozark Conference. The Lady Bulldogs travel to Glendale on Tuesday, before hosting Kickapoo on Thursday, which will also be Carlee McCormack's Senior Spotlight.
"That's what this is, it gets us ready for the game against Glendale and the game against Kickapoo," said coach Howard on the matchup with Webster Groves. "You're getting ready to essentially a conference championship, there's no better way to do it than play one of the best teams in the state."