Two late goals by the Dixon Bulldogs thwarted any possibility of a comeback for the Lady Lions
CROCKER — Crocker coach Darren Boberg and the Lady Lions (4-13) were so close to an undefeated season at home on Friday they could taste it.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, Gerica Curry settled a through-ball with her body, dribbled in close to the net, shot from about 10-yards out and scored with 12:02 remaining in the game to make it 2-1.
The Dixon Bulldogs (16-4-1) wouldn't allow the comeback though, and two goals in the final minute and change propelled them to a 4-1 win over the Lady Lions.
Previously unbeaten at home, Crocker had won four home games in a row, but they couldn't hold tough at home on Friday night.
“This was our senior night and we wanted to make this our fifth game,” Boberg said. “Unfortunately it didn't work out for us.”
After Shiannah Bennett had scroed just two minutes into the game and Mattie Whitaker punched one in with 27:12 left in the first half, Dixon was up by two.
Then, Curry knocked in her goal to cut the lead to 2-1 with 12:02 remaining in the game.
The Lions kept sending through-balls down the field and got close to connecting on some of those passes, but Dixon's goalkeeper Jerica Schaffner oftentimes beat the Lions to their long passes.
Which was lucky, because they kept coming and the Bulldogs were having trouble stopping them.
“The girls converted to Crocker's style of play instead of their own,” Dixon coach Ron Bodkins said. “Crocker doesn't have a lot of ball control so they do a lot of long kicks.”
It wasn't because they didn't know what to do.
The previous night Bodkins tried to drill it into his girls' heads what was going to be shown to them on gameday.
“We worked for two hours last night in the rain on running through the ball, settling it with your body and then making the diagonal pass,” Bodkins said. “They went right back to raising their leg and trying to kick it in the air and not knowing where the ball goes.”
Part of the Bulldogs' sloppy play should be blamed on injuries though.
Back in April, fullback Reagan Paterson broke a bone just above her ankle in the Stover game.
Since then midfielder Brianna Wiley has gone out with ankle issues, forward Haley Rickerson tore an ACL on Tuesday in Osage and midfielder/fullback Michaela Johnson bruised her knee.
Only Johnson has a chance to get back by districts.
“I hope we can maintain our sanity and a part of our starting lineup by the time we hit districts,” Bodkins said.
Late in the second half, Dixon finally padded their lead.
A Lady Bulldog blasted a kick on goal and it was stopped, but Kristen McMillian rebounded and sent the ball back in for a goal with 1:10 remaining.
Less than 30 seconds later, Myridian Benefield made it 4-1 Dixon with a shot from wide left on the field.
Bodkins said he didn't see any Lions try to stop Benefield.
“I think after we hit that third goal Crocker kind of deflated and shut down,” Bodkins said. “Right after the third goal, the ball was right back down around the goal and nobody made a play on it.”
Dixon's last regular season game will be on Thursday in Fatima.
It will be used to get some insight on a potential district tournament opponent.
The Class 1 District 8 tournament begins on Monday with St. James and Belle squaring off.
Then, on Tuesday Fatima and Owensville will play. After that Dixon will play the winner of St. James and Belle. All games will be played at Fatima.
Crocker will kick off their Class 1 District 9 on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. against Aurora at School of the Osage in Osage Beach.