Mexico girls lag behind fast Festus, lose Hotop Classic championship game 6-0


The speed was much different from the morning on Saturday.

Sure, temperatures warmed up after Mexico’s 2-0 win against Battle during the Chris Hotop Classic, but the Lady Bulldogs’ championship game opponent Festus quickly surged ahead to defeat Mexico 6-0. The Class 3 Lady Tigers scored five goals in the first half to put Mexico in an early hole.

Head coach Sarah Olson said she noticed how fast Festus (3-1-1) was during the Lady Tigers’ morning game against Owensville. It was going to be difficult for Mexico to keep up with Festus, and that isn’t what happened in the first half.

“Their level of play was quick,” Olson said. “We told them this before the game. We just couldn’t quite keep up with the pace. We talked about ball following. It wasn’t too bad, honestly, but we were following the ball instead of anticipating what they were doing next.”

Starting from the ninth minute, Festus had three goals within a span of 10 minutes and were well on its way to outshooting 22-1 in the game. Olson said she didn’t want Festus to win via mercy rule as Mexico (2-3) had already achieved its goal of winning one Hotop Classic game and wanted to avoid a rough end to the day.

Olson said Mexico did avoid a rough end with its improved defense in the second half, which was made tougher considering the Lady Bulldogs didn’t have two of its middle center backs all day in Emily Moppin and Marali Herrera. Claire Hudson spent more time further back, and Bailey Christianson received more playing time to contribute to the more pressing effort in the second half.

“Sometimes, I think it’s just motivation,” Olson said. “It’s just the words that get them going, and they’ll up the game. Really, we didn’t make a ton of adjustments. (Middle center back) is a hard position to play. It’s tough to be able to fill that. They worked hard, and that’s all you can ask.”

Olson said the better defense wouldn’t have been complete without Katie. Or rather, both Katies: goalkeeper Katie Crews and defender Katie Gooch.

Crews recorded 10 saves, including six in the second half to prevent the eight-goal margin mercy rule from kicking in, and allowed only one more goal at 61st minute on a ball that leaked in off of her. Gooch hustled to several balls so Crews didn’t see even more shots.

“Our goalkeeper came out a lot and was really vocal,” Olson said. “Katie Gooch hustled at every single ball. I was pleased with how we played in the second half.”

Mexico plays its first district opponent this season, Wright City (0-1), at around 6 p.m. Monday at home. The Lady Bulldogs have lost five straight to the Lady Wildcats.

Look for more about the Lady Bulldogs in the Wednesday, March 27, 2024, edition of the Mexico Ledger.