It is extremely difficult to beat a team three times in a row, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference for Hannibal on Wednesday night.


It is extremely difficult to beat a team three times in a row, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference for Hannibal on Wednesday night.
After falling 5-0 and 7-0 losses to the Moberly Lady Spartans earlier this season, the Hannibal Lady Pirates suffered their third shutout of the series, losing 4-0.
Hannibal head coach Eric Hill said the loss was an especially hard one for his team to swallow.
“It stings,” Hill said. “I came into this game thinking it was a very winnable game for us. I just thought that we were going to have that little extra boost because it’s Moberly. But I don’t know if the girls were having the same feelings.”
Hannibal and Moberly stayed locked at 0-0 for the first 15 minutes of the game, a period in which Hill said the girls played extremely tough, marking up on opponents on defense and holding the ball more on offense.
But in the 19th minute, the Hannibal defenses broke down, allowing the first goal of the game. To make matters worse for the Lady Pirates, the Lady Spartans’ first strike only spurred them on to another goal in the 22nd minute.
After the game, Hill said those two goals, coming in such quick succession, had a serious effect on the girls’ morale.
“We are a little sporadic at times, offensively,” Hill said. “Being down 2-0 at half, we were definitely not out of it but it’s a tough team to come back against.”
One of the contributing factors to the Lady Pirates’ loss, Hill said, was the constant strain that was put on the defense.
“When we are struggling to get anything going offensively, he defense feels like they are back on their heels the whole time,” Hill said. “It’s not just the defenders and the goalkeeper. We just feel like we are defending the whole time because we are not able to get things going.”
The loss puts an end to the Hannibal girls’ three-game winning streak from last weekend’s home tournament, dropping them to 8-11 this season. The Lady Pirates also drop to 3-4 in the North Central Missouri conference, tying them for fifth place with the Fulton Lady Hornets. However, the team still has time to improve its standing. All five of the remaining regular-season games on the Lady Pirates’ schedule are NCMC games. And of those five games, two are against the Fulton Lady Hornets, a team the Lady Pirates beat 2-1 on Saturday, and one is against Mexico, a team Hannibal narrowly lost to 3-2 at the beginning of April.
The head coach said he believes each remaining game is feasibly winnable, but that his team will need to dig deep for the effort it will take for a “W”.
“Offensively, we were clicking so well in the tournament,” Hill said. “We just have to get back into the girls’ heads that they need to continue to run off of each other like we did over the weekend. … Moberly has got a better defense than any of the other teams that we play, I’d say. So we are going to have more opportunities to do that. And, as we get some more shots on goal, that will get our confidence going a little bit, too.”