The Barton Community College women’s soccer team opened its season with a loss to Cisco (Texas), 5-2, in spite of holding a lead early in the first half.
It was head coach Shawn Uhlenhake’s first game with the Cougars, who said that holding that lead early will benefit the younger players on his team.
“For the younger players, it was nice to have that lead,” Uhlenhake said. “They know what it feels like and how quickly it can disappear and who quickly it can get out of control. So those are lessons learned. Unfortunately, we had to learn it today, but it won’t be the end of the world for us.”
It was also the first game for Barton goalkeeper Brittany Hughes, who played for the volleyball team last year.
Hughes, a Hoisington High School graduate in her second year at Barton, was able to make 12 saves in her debut.
“For her, she needs to be in game situations,” Uhlenhake said of Hughes. “In training, she does well. There’s just nothing like getting into action and playing, and I think she realized that today. Now she has something to relate to training, to what we’re talking about. This is her first real game. She’s been playing for two weeks.”
Barton led Lady Wranglers early on, jumping to the lead on a goal from Kaylee Kerschner, who broke past the defense and buried a shot in the back of the net with 26 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the first half.
“We came out, and we were playing really well,” Uhlenhake said. “Our fitness let us down and we had to start making adjustments and that was when we starting losing control of the game. When we started moving players around and we couldn’t go with our starting line up the way we had it, that’s when things started breaking down on us.”
Just five minutes later, Cisco got onto the scoreboard as a header got past Hughes.
The Lady Cougars took the lead one last time at the 20-minute mark when Catalina Guitierez beat the keeper to make it 2-1.
Cisco waited another five minutes before knotting the game at two, and followed it with another goal with 11:35 remaining in the first half.
“Physically, we were there,” Uhlenhake said of Cisco’s tying goal. “Mentally, they just need to stay in the game. You know, 90 minutes is a long time to play and to keep focused on a game. A lot of players got lessons in what happens if you don’t pay attention the whole game. I felt we should have gone into halftime at least tied.”
Two more goals for the Lady Wranglers put the game out of reach for the Lady Cougars, who looked tired after running in 100-degree weather.
“That all goes back to conditioning,” Uhlenhake said. “Once we started getting tired physically, then mentally, we started getting tired. Then that kind of snowballed into us just trying to knock it into open space and players weren’t available.
“We’ve got some work to do. There’s not doubt about it.”