Hannibal was in control from start to finish during a 5-0 win over Kirksville on Thursday night.
One match ahead of its conference clash with Boonville on Monday, it would have been easy for the Hannibal girls soccer team to overlook Kirksville on Thursday night.
Such was not the case.
The Lady Pirates controlled the match from beginning to end for a 5-0 win over their visitors. The win improved Hannibal to 2-1 on the season with its second straight shutout.
Chloe Ebers opened the scoring for the Lady Pirates with a goal in the 5th minute.
Shelby Stine added her fourth goal of the season in the 35th minute for a 2-0 advantage. The score remained the same at the half.
Hannibal registered 15 shots on goal in the first half, while the Lady Tigers failed to mount any kind of offensive attack and did not have any shots.
“We have worked a lot on possession drills all week,” Hannibal coach Eric Hill said. “And I felt like tonight was the best we have possessed the ball as far as swinging the ball around and using everybody and not forcing things.”
Hill talked to his team at the half about making a slight adjustment in the final 40 minutes of play to gain some breathing room.
And the Lady Pirates executed the game plan to near perfection.
“I told them the box was too crowded in the first half,” the Lady Pirates coach noted. “Give Kirksville credit, they defended well, but I told the girls we needed to back the ball out and let our defenders swing it across to get them out of the box some.”
Abby Baumann opened the second half scoring with a goal in the 45th minute for a 3-0 lead. Grace McIntosh assisted with a nifty centering pass.
Less than two minutes later, Baumann connected again, this time on a header and another centering pass from Stine.
The freshman midfielder gave all the credit to her teammates on her first two goals of the season.
“My teammates did a nice job of moving the ball around and made nice centering passes which makes it easier to score,” Baumann said.
Used as more of a utility player in the first two matches and the first half Thursday night, Baumann’s role changed right before her two goals.
Forward Haley Ballinger left the match with a knee injury just moments prior to the goals.
“Looks like we are going to be without Haley for a little bit and we needed someone to step up and that is exactly what Abby provided for us tonight,” Hill noted.
Maddie Janes wrapped up the scoring on the night with a goal in the 66th minute. The goal was unassisted as she found the back of the net from about 15 feet away.
Hannibal (2-1) finished with 26 shots on goal compared to just three for the Lady Tigers.
“We wanted to push the ball forward tonight and spread it out and we were able to do a good job of that,” Baumann said. “We are getting better each game, and it’s a great feeling.”
Hannibal travels to conference rival Boonville on Monday.
“We are going to have to step it up again on Monday as we tied with them in conference last season,” Hill acknowledged. “But it’s nice to go into the match with some confidence and playing well.”