MURPHYSBORO — Sporting a veteran backline in front of two new goalkeepers Murphysboro didn’t allow a shot on goal by Metro East Lutheran to win the season opener for both teams 3-0 in a non-conference girls soccer game Tuesday afternoon.
“The girls were very nervous today,” said Murphysboro coach Michael Lydy. “We had three freshmen playing today and two of them started, so I think that adds to first-game jitters. However, you have to give Lutheran’s coach a lot of credit. They’ve improved a lot over the three years we’ve played them. I think they’ll win some games this year. Today they were very solid.”
Murphysboro was coming off a record-setting 18-3-2 season, while Metro East Lutheran posted a 1-17 record.
“It was a much better start than last year,” said Lady Knights coach Tim Muther. “We had improvement all across the board in terms of hustle, effort, determination, poise and everything. I told them at halftime when we were down 2-0 that teams get tired and it could turn into a runaway, but to not let that happen today, and it didn’t.”
The Red Devils out-shot the Lady Knights 4-0 in the first half. Junior Yasmina Amley started the game between the pipes and faced just one good scoring chance at the 8:42 mark when Reagan Guerry got off an unobstructed shot on the right side that sailed wide of the goal on the left.
Sophomore Maci Uffelman scored first goal 14:16 later off a great crossing pass from freshman outside midfielder Annie Decker.
“Annie dribbled it down to the right corner and she put a good through ball that went past Lillie (Schaldemose) and I just happened to get the end of it,” Uffelman said. “I normally shoot with my left foot, but this time I had to shoot it with my right and it went in.”
Less than six minutes later, a Lady Knight defender was called for a handball inside the 18, giving the Red Devils their first penalty shot of the season. Freshman center midfielder Isabella “Bella” Cerrato was called upon to take the shot and she didn’t disappoint, scoring her first career high school goal with 11:06 remaining.
“I was a little scared with first game jitters, but I made it and that’s all that counts,” Cerrato said.
In the second half, sophomore Kylee Kerrens made her high school debut in goal. Her teammates made her first game a success, spending most of the second 40 minutes on the Metro East Lutheran side of the field.
Lady Knights senior goalkeeper Taylor Bradley fended off seven good scoring chances in the first 16 minutes, and got help from the goal itself when Uffelman hit the left goal post on a wide open shot with 27:52 remaining.
Murphysboro’s offense didn’t allow the Lady Knights to cross the middle stripe for the first time until there was 24:40 left. Two minutes later, Morgan Ashauer got behind the defense on the right side, but senior outside defender Sydney Cook recovered to knock her off the ball to stop the potential scoring opportunity.
Schaldemose, who had led the team in scoring her first two seasons with 33 goals her freshman year and 21 goals last year, teamed up with Cerrato to score her first goal with 15:12 remaining in the game.
“Bella gave me a pass in front right past the goalie and I just kind of tapped it in,” Schaldemose said. “It’s our first game and I think a lot of us were really nervous – I was – so we just were getting through our first game jitters.”
Next up for the Red Devils is the Benton (Mo.) Tournament. They play Trinity Catholic on Friday at 5:30 followed on Saturday by Kelly (Mo.) at 9 a.m. and Carterville at 1 p.m.