Second chances are a rare commodity.
Less than five minutes into a match against Hickman, Jessica Coble received a cross in front of goal, only to have her shot booted away by the Kewpie goalkeeper and cleanly cleared.
The Lady Tigers arguably didn’t get a cleaner shot off the rest of the match and lost 1-0 Monday at Tiger Stadium.
Smith-Cotton, however, has the privilege of facing the No. 8 state-ranked Hickman Lady Kewpies in the opening round of the district tournament next Tuesday.
Maddie Davidson was upbeat after the game with the team’s second chance in mind.
“We’re just looking forward to playing them in districts,” Davidson said. “This is more of like, you know – I don’t want to say a practice round – but now we know how they play and we’re ready for Tuesday now. So we’ll watch a little bit of film on it, fix what we did wrong tonight and hopefully move forward.”
Nora Hargett netted the game’s only goal in the 16th minute. Hickman had numbers in the box for more than a minute when Hargett fired a shot from within a crowd of defenders into the corner of the goal.
Smith-Cotton head coach Adam Murray said Monday’s match was an opportunity to get a feel for their district opponent.
“We kind of treated this like the first round,” Murray said. “We used this as a feeling-out process to kind of get an idea of places we could attack.
Murray said the team’s crosses to the weak side were effective, but forwards could be more aggressive in isolated situations.
“We found a few things we liked,” Murray said. “I still think getting the ball wide – we kind of caught them shifted over and we were able to reverse the ball and play the weak side.”
A long boot from Kiara Williams set up Jillian Vansell in the 21st minute, but her shot missed high. Another cross from Davidson on a free kick positioned Marilyn Ream in front of the goal, but the pass eluded Ream near the corner of the goal.
The Lady Kewpies kept Smith-Cotton forwards at their backs the majority of the match. Davidson complimented the Hickman defenders after the game.
“That’s just what good teams do,” Davidson said. “They’re good defensively.”
The Lady Tigers (13-7-1) finish the regular season with a game at Clinton tomorrow and a match at Center on Thursday. Junior varsity’s first kick for both games is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2