Lady Bearcats earn shutout over Lady Jackets

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Sherman's Sandra Marin controls the ball in front of Denison's Hattie Gardner during District 10-5A action at Munson Stadium.

When the Sherman Lady Bearcats re-evaluated where they were after the first week of district play, it was after a loss to the Denison Lady Yellow Jackets that felt worse than the three-goal margin.

“We had to change. It was a change in system and how we were doing things,” Sherman head coach Chance Hawkins said. “Credit to them. They’ve continued to work hard. They’ve bought in to playing as a team and everybody doing their job. We’re a totally different team since that first game.”

Tyesha Gaines scored the only goal and Marigol Lopez made it stand up with a shutout as Sherman defeated Denison, 1-0, in 10-5A action at Munson Stadium.

It is the first outright victory for Sherman (4-11-3, 2-7-1) over Denison (4-12-1, 1-7-1) since the 2017 season.

The Lady Bearcats turned it around from that 4-1 loss in late January. They picked up a victory over Princeton last week and the scores against the top half of the standings have improved.

Through 10 district matches last season Sherman had allowed 42 goals. In the 10 matches so far this year, that number is 19 with four matches left including two more this week — at Lovejoy on Wednesday and hosting The Colony on Thursday.

“Just keep improving and finish the season strong,” Hawkins said. “We’d like to pick up a win or two. I feel like we’ve been more competitive this year.”

Lopez had a much easier night than the first match-up and her counterpart for the Lady Jackets, Mary Siems, nearly matched her with the clean sheet. But the Sherman defense was much sharper this time around.

“We had some great minutes off the bench,” Hawkins said about the efforts from C.C. Wilson, Abby Khader and Emma Ford. “Those girls coming off the bench with those minutes was invaluable to us.”

Denison made an early push in the second half to tie the score. Hattie Gardner had a long shot stopped in the opening minutes and then her try from the left side five minutes later hit the side of the net.

Maddie Marr also tested Lopez right after that but was turned away.

The Lady Bearcats regained control of the pace and while they didn’t charge forward to try and add to the lead, they also minimized Denison’s potential counterattack.

A free kick by the Lady Jackets with 26:50 remaining that was stopped by Lopez was the last best chance for the home team to pull even.

Riley Tillotson almost provided some breathing room for the Lady Bearcats with just over five minutes to go when her corner kick from the left side bounced around in the box but Siems grabbed it to keep the deficit at a goal.

There were not a whole lot of strong scoring opportunities in the first half of the first half but then things picked up.

Gaines put the Lady Bearcats on the board with 19:37 on the clock. Roselyn Matamoros had a chance to knock it in but didn’t have an angle as Siems came up to challenge. The ball headed towards the far post on the right side and Gaines knocked it in the empty net for the 1-0 advantage.

“The goal was the epitome of doing what you’re supposed to and being in the right spot,” Hawkins said. “It was a team goal.”

The Lady Jackets followed with a couple of chances to even the score. The first was six minutes after the goal when Marr got behind the defense and tried to run down a pass but Lopez raced out and covered the ball.

Three minutes after that Jackie Patterson had a one-hopper bounce off the crossbar and over.

Tillotson tried to give Sherman a 2-0 advantage in the final five minutes of the half but her long free kick was stopped by Siems to keep it close at the break.

District 10-5A

Sherman                   1

Denison                    0