The Hannibal girls soccer team came one win short of claiming its home tournament Saturday, falling 4-1 to St. Charles West in the title match.
The Hannibal girls soccer team received some unexpected good news Saturday morning.
Hannah Nichols felt well enough to suit up for the Lady Pirates for the final two matches of their own invitational after battling a chest cold the prior couple days.
The Hannibal junior helped the Lady Pirates to a 3-2 win over Parkway West in the semifinals, before falling to Class 2 No. 3 ranked St. Charles West in the title match.
“Obviously they are no slouch,” Hannibal coach Eric Hill said of St. Charles West, which beat Hannibal 4-1. “I thought we could have hung with them a little better than we did, but we just ran out of gas with having a short bench and battling sickness.”
In the Lady Pirates win over Parkway Central, Nichols set up Shelby Stine on the first goal.
Nichols dropped in a perfectly executed kick from the corner, and Stine booted it in for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
After Parkway scored an equalizer just over halfway through the first half, Nichols and Stine teamed up once more.
This time Nichols used her powerful right foot to send a free kick from 50 yards out on goal. The rebound came to Stine, and once again the senior did not miss. The goal gave the Lady Pirates a 2-1 advantage with two minutes left in the half.
Stine, who broke the Lady Pirates career goal record Friday night, completed a hat trick with just over two minutes left in the match.
It gave Hannibal a 3-1 lead and proved to be crucial as Parkway Central scored with 12 seconds left in the match for the final tally.
“Insurance goals always help out, but that one ended up being huge,” Hill said of Stine’s third. “We always stress not to get comfortable with a one-goal lead, and the girls did a nice job of continuing to play and that goal was huge.”
The Lady Pirates coach also acknowledged the effort of his ill defensive player.
“Hannah was questionable for both games as she’s been having a tough time breathing from a chest cold,” Hill stated. “But she gutted it out. She is just a big-time team player. She knew we definitely needed her out there and she helped us out a lot.”
In the championship match, St. Charles West broke a scoreless tie with just over nine minutes left in the first half.
It looked like the Lady Pirates would enter intermission trailing just 1-0, but the Warriors scored a devastating goal with 29 seconds left in the half for a 2-0 advantage.
A foul on the Lady Pirates gave SCW a free kick from 30 yards out. Emma Keevan dropped in the kick behind the Hannibal wall of defenders and Alyssa Coffey made a sliding kick for the goal.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times there in the first half,” Hill said of the goals. “We didn’t stay with their runners once and then dove in on their second goal. Being down just 1-0 at the half opposed to 2-0 is a big difference.”
Hannibal found a little momentum early in the second half by recording a trio of shots on goal in the first 10 minutes, but could not find the back of the net.
The Warriors put the match away with a pair of goals in less than a minute span, just over halfway through the second half.
Kaylee Falconer was awarded a penalty kick with three seconds left in the match. The Lady Pirate midfielder connected to prevent the shutout.
Despite the loss, Hill mentioned he was pleased with the way his team performed in the three matches of the tournament.
“I think we came a long ways,” the veteran coach said. “We have been playing a lot of games with a pretty compact schedule once we were finally able to get on the field. We just had some tired legs there at the end.
“But we faced some good quality teams. It was good for us to see this kind of competition. Now we will just try and get some rest for a couple days before getting back into conference play on Tuesday at Kirksville.”