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Soccer Game Thursdays

Alina Peret

Alina Peret

Rosemary Gregg, Writer

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With a slight mist filling the air, the Lady Hornets practice in preparation to defeat the Fort Smith Southside Lady Mavericks to the song “We Got the Beat” Mar 29. The girls then gather in a huddle while captain Mary Catherine Selig leads the girls in prayer. Before the horn goes off, the girls shout “1-2-3 Lady Hornets.”

All eyes are on the Lady Hornets, but little do they know that the scouts are watching their every move from the press box.

To start the game off, junior Alyssa Fason stumbles, but reluctantly kicks the ball towards the center circle. Freshman Ashton Inman lunges for the ball, but misses. The Lady Hornets gain control of the ball, and Fason is able to prove herself as she scores the first point.

The Lady Hornets’ supporters cheer for senior Jessica Butler as she chases after the ball and leads her team.

The referee blows the whistle with 24 minutes left in the first half, allowing Inman to have the opportunity to lead the Lady Hornets with a penalty kick. The ball was targeted in the lower left corner, but saved by the Lady Mavericks’ keeper, leaving the score 1-1.

Co-captain Jad’n Nichols goes down in tears after a harsh sideways shuffle with a Mavericks player; the time stops at exactly seven minutes. Nichols is rushed off of the field holding her left leg in mid-air, waiting for the paramedics to check her knee. The game continues and the Hornets receive a courtesy kick.

“When I fell, I heard a cracking noise coming from my knee, so that was my biggest concern for the first like two seconds,” Nichols said. “Then, I realized that I was guarding a girl right before I fell, so I wanted to know if she had scored or not, but she didn’t, so everything was good.”

Bryant receives a foul; the Lady Hornets create a wall, but the Mavericks take a lead of 2-1 with just over two minutes left in the first half. Studdard gains the ball and high kicks it, sending it mid-field, and rolling towards the goal, but the Maverick’s keeper once again blocks the ball.

Dark storm clouds cover half of the field, but this doesn’t stop the Lady Hornets. The first ends with the Mavericks ahead one point. The Lady Hornets gather in a circle for a quick pep talk from Coach Nicole Inman.

“During halftime, we had a chance to think about [losing our co-captain] and regroup,” Selig said. “I think some of our freshmen, like Rachel [Buck], really stepped up for Jad’n, and I think that we played well.”

The referee brings Selig to the side in order to have a chat with her.

“You can always blame the ref, so that’s never an excuse, but he was talking to me about how some of the things that he didn’t call were correct,” Selig said. “I thought that he should’ve called more.”

Southside’s keeper kicks the ball to half-court. Hernandez and Fason run towards the goal in attempts to kick it towards the goal again, but the shot is blocked by the Lady Mavericks keeper for a second time.

The horns go off, the second half is over. The game is over. Mavericks, 2, Hornets, 1. The Mavericks might have won this game, but this didn’t stop the Lady Hornets from working together in order to recover after losing co-captain Nichols.

“I think we came out ready to win, and I think we overplayed [the Lady Mavericks],” Selig said. “If you just came up during the game, you would’ve thought that we were winning. Our effort was 100%.”

After the game, Selig whispers to Nichols, “You’re the strongest person I know. Worst case scenario, you can’t play for a little while.”

The day after the game, Nichols went to Ortho Arkansas and had an X-ray done, which eliminated any possible broken bones. However, her MRI revealed a torn ACL. Doctors told Nichols that her knee would take several months to heal–meaning that Nichols will not be able to play for the rest of her high school season. Nichols plans to play soccer for Harding’s team in the spring of 2018.

“Of course I’m sad about not being able to finish my senior year and play with my team, but we have a great team,” Nichols said. “I know they’re going to do great things the rest of the season.”

 

 

 

 

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