Lady Pat soccer team falters in first game under new coach

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

STANFORD — First-year coach Wendy Estes knows there will be growing pains and better days ahead for the Lincoln County High School girls soccer team.

The Lady Patriots, featuring a new starting lineup, opened their season Monday night against visiting Southwestern, but were unable to come away with a victory, falling 4-2 to the Lady Warriors.

“These girls are feeling a transitional year,” said Estes. “We had an entire coaching staff change. We’ve had an entire lineup change. We’ve had an entire demographics change. I feel they did very well accepting to the changes and the expectations. I think our athleticism and confidence showed a little weak tonight and I think the confidence comes from going through a transitional year. I really do.”

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Seniors Emma Kaiser and Cheyenne Releford got Lincoln on the scoreboard in the first half as the Lady Patriots challenged the Lady Warriors to a 2-2 ballgame. But it was all Southwestern (1-0) offensively in the second half as the visitors punched in two unanswered goals to claim the victory.

“It was 2-2 at halftime. You’re looking at two equal teams. It was a matter of fight,” Estes said. “It was a matter of fight and I just feel like Southwestern had a little more fight that last half than Lincoln did.”

Cameron Price scored midway through the second half to give Southwestern the edge it needed for the win. Price, a junior, dribbled the ball in from the midfield then booted it in behind Lincoln goalkeeper Libby Renner. 

Logan Cook, who had two goals for the Lady Warriors, punched in her second goal just five minutes later for the 4-2 final.

“Trying to get them to learn to fight when they get down … I’m trying to get them to get that fight. I want them to fight,” said Estes. “I kind of got the sense that, when the third goal was scored, I sort of felt an overall sinking feeling. We need to work on that fight. We need to work on fighting until the very end.”

Lincoln (0-1) held the early lead in the game, with Kaiser lofting a shot in above the outstretched hands of Southwestern goalkeeper Bella Nalle just over six minutes into the game.

The Lady Pat lead lasted just over five minutes with Cook scoring her first goal at the 28:16 mark. Lincoln got control of the ball after a shot attempt by Cook was deflected by Renner, but the Lady Patriots lost control of the ball and Cook came back to regain possession and then kicked it in for the 1-1 tie.

The two teams would trade goals again before the halftime break, and five minutes was all that separated those goals as well. 

Releford nosed Lincoln back on top 2-1 with 15:06 on the clock, putting the ball into the net from the right side. But, with 10:02 remaining, the game was deadlocked once again as Southwestern’s Kenzee Gilbert scored from 15-yards out.  

“We just needed to get this game out of our system,” Estes said of the opening loss. “If a professional has an administration change, it’s hard on an adult. These are high school girls. To have an entire coaching change, entire new expectations … This game was about feeling the coaching staff out as much as it was the coaching staff feeling the players out. It just really exposed places that we need to work on – our fight and old-fashioned athleticism. It gave us direction and we will be better in the long run from it. We needed to get this experience over with and now we have. It didn’t finish our way, but it’s okay.”