Lady Bears fall in season opener to East Central

Published 9:58 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

Monday’s match was one of firsts for the Southwest Lady Bears. Not only was it the first match of the 2022 season, but it was also the first match that they have played in nearly two weeks and it was the first on the newly-turfed Monroe McElveen Field at John I. Hurst Stadium. And despite putting up a strong effort, the Lady Bears could not get into rhythm, falling to East Central 4-0 in non-conference play.

“East Central is No. 8 in the country currently, a very, very good team,” SMCC head coach Zach Mills said. “We’re just happy with the progress. We had some slip ups but the fact is that our girls didn’t keep our head down and there were some unlucky bounces.”

Southwest (0-1) found success moving the ball early on, however, could not get any shots on goal in the first few minutes of play. The Lady Warriors struck first on a cross in the seventh minute, putting the hosts in a 1-0 hole. The Lady Bears continued to battle, trying to get into rhythm but had difficulty doing so. Already down two starters, the injury bug bit Southwest once again about 25:00 into the match as starting defender Rose Coats suffered an injury and sat out the rest of the contest.

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The short-handed Lady Bears fell behind 2-0 in the 39 th minute and tried to cut that deficit in half just three minutes later as Aoife Saunders attempted a penalty kick on a hand ball. But it was well-defended by East Central. After a lengthy period of back-and-forth play — where Southwest got shots on goal during back-to-back possessions —deficit for the hosts unfortunately grew to 3-0 in the 73rd minute.

Down the stretch, the Lady Bears got a big save from goalkeeper Alexa Manning in the 78 th minute and caught a break on a shot that ricocheted off of the side bar in the 82 nd minute before the visitors scored the game’s final goal with just under 2:00 to go.

The Lady Bears return to action Thursday with a road contest at Belhaven.