This past week the Festus Tigers Girls Varsity Soccer team participated in the Windsor tournament. However, with some key players not in action, the team faced quite a difficult challenge.
On Tuesday, April 6, the team struggled to fight off the strong offense of Windsor high school. With two key defensive players out, the Tigers young defensive line was vulnerable to the high pressure attack. Windsor won the game by the score of 9-1.
Festus did manage to put one goal up on the board in the first half. Emily Holt scored off a pass from Lillie Williams at the 10 minute mark, but it was not nearly enough to combat the offensive surge of Windsor. Festus only managed three shots in the game.
In the net, the goal keepers were under heavy fire all game long. Zoe Erxleben started the match and saved 14 shots. Mady Geiler played the second half and turned away six shots.
Two days later on April 8th, the team faced Seckman High School. Seckman rallied early to put up three goals in the first half, and poured it on in the second half, adding five more goals. The Tigers were shut out, 8-0.
Head Coach Caleb Zustiak commented on his team’s effort, and said, “Playing short handed this week, our goal was to play a strong, high level team well, and hold them as best we could the first half. We showed some good defensive hustle and held them to three goals at the half which was a success for where we are developmentally at this point in our program. We are learning important lessons and improving each game.”
The following day, April 9th, the Tigers were at it again, this time lacing up the boots against St. Vincent. Festus again struggled to get anything going early as St. Vincent put up six goals in the first half, and added three more in the second.
Festus did manage to put one goal away. Holt stole the ball from a St. Vincent defender at 33 minutes and scored to get the Tigers on the board. However, it wasn’t enough to spark the Tigers, as St. Vincent went on to win 9-1.
Zustiak knows his team is young and has a lot to learn, and said, “There were some standout performances among the team, but as a whole, we came out flat and didn’t perform to our full potential.” He went on, “As a young program we have a while to go before being competitive with these more developed programs, but the athletes we have as underclassmen and the leadership we have with our Juniors and Seniors will set the tone for future success.”
The Tigers lost all three games of the tournament, but many of the young players gained valuable experience playing at the Varsity level. Festus should be at full strength next week as they challenge Sullivan High School on Wednesday, April 14th.