AMANDA — A spark of energy came too late for the Amanda-Clearcreek girls soccer team.
The Aces allowed three first-half goals and were down 4-0 before scoring late in a 4-1 nonleague loss Tuesday to Tree of Life.
“We gave up every 50-50 ball in the first half. We didn’t challenge, and we didn’t respond,” Amanda-Clearcreek coach Dusty Hines said. “So we challenged them at halftime. In the second half, the energy got better.”
The Aces (3-8-2) had trouble sustaining a high level of energy, Hines said. They trailed 1-0 for most of the first half, but the Trojans scored two goals in 90 seconds toward the end to go into the locker room up 3-0 lead.
“We tried to start winning the midfield,” Hines said. “We dropped a little bit to try to get the midfield going. We didn’t respond in the first half. And we don’t score a lot, so we can’t afford to go down 3-0.”
Despite a few scoring chances, Amanda-Clearcreek couldn’t manage a goal. Freshman Dayle Hedges led the attack, but the Aces could not capitalize on their opportunities.
Trailing 4-0, Amanda-Clearcreek’s Lacey Burkholder scored with 7:10 to play in the game. After the goal, the Aces’ intensity picked up and they had a few more scoring opportunities in the closing minutes.
Hines said that was the most energy Amanda-Clearcreek had all match, but the Aces did not help themselves with their early deficit.
“We talked to them at halftime not about winning or losing, but we challenged them to respond,” Hines said. “And we did that. But it was a tough night for us.”
Amanda-Clearcreek has nine seniors, but only a few of them had any varsity experience before this season. Hines starts four of five freshman per game and has no juniors on the team, so the Aces have had a steep learning curve.
Sustaining energy during an entire match has been a lesson along the way, but Hines said he has seen progress.
“We’re doing a better job or creating opportunities for ourselves, we’re just not finishing,” Hines said. “Our freshmen are growing up fast. We’ll be OK. But we just don’t have a lot of experience.”