Junior Erika Lloyd and the Waterloo Bulldogs continued to roll Friday night.
Lloyd scored two goals and assisted on another as the Bulldogs notched a 3-0 victory over Belleville East in a nonconference girls soccer game.
It capped a remarkable two days for Lloyd in which she had five goals and two assists. She recorded three goals and an assist Thursday in a 7-1 drubbing of Mascoutah.
“I wouldn’t say she was struggling at the beginning of the year,” Waterloo coach Chad Holden said of Lloyd, who leads the Bulldogs (15-2) in scoring with 13 goals and seven assists. “She probably thinks she was because she thinks she should score every goal for us.
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“But she’s done a great job of doing things because people are marking her (hard) and it’s getting other people open. We’ve had so many different girls scoring goals for us, which is a great thing to have. The girls have been playing well since game one. It’s been a joy watching them.”
It was the eighth consecutive win for the Bulldogs, seven of them coming via shutout. Freshman Kate Kennedy had the shutout against East (6-7-2). Kennedy was playing for junior Kathryn Finnerty, who was sick. Finnerty has been the starter for injured senior Mia Reed.
Often being double-teamed in Mississippi Valley Conference games, Lloyd had more room to operate against the Lancers, whose defense let them down after a scoreless first half.
Lloyd’s header at the goal line at 53 minutes, 56 seconds on a cross from the left corner by unmarked junior Sidney Metzger made it 1-0.
“I saw Metzger making that run out wide,” Lloyd said. “I thought it was the perfect opportunity. I gave it to her and then saw the ball coming and just headed it in.”
Lloyd tallied again at 59:46 off a throw-in from the right side by freshman Sydney Luedeman, sneaking behind the defense and tapping it in for a 2-0 lead.
On both occasions, Lloyd enjoyed far more space to maneuver than was preferred by Lancers coach Erika Todd-Baptist.
“It’s my wingers. Our wingers let us down as far as marking,” Todd-Baptist said. “We’ve talked about that. They have to take ownership on the field. I can’t joystick them around. They’re big girls. If they don’t want to mark up, they’ll get goals scored against them.”
Senior Shannon Rettig culminated the scoring at 63:20 on a feed from Lloyd, rifling in a shot from about 25 yards out on the right side.
Holden wasn’t pleased with how the Bulldogs played in the first half, even though the Lancers had the wind advantage and were unable convert against the staunch Bulldogs defense of junior Sydney Ratz, sophomore Heather Elliott and freshmen Dani Mauer and Sierra Berg.
Mauer suffered an injury to her lower left leg early in the second half and did not return, but Waterloo mixed and matched at the position and carried on without her.
“We didn’t think we played really well the first half,” Holden said. “Give credit to Belleville East, though. I thought they played pretty well. But the first half, our passes, too many of them were in the air. And it looked like we were panicking, that we were rushing our passes. We kept wanting to pass forward.
“The second half, we wanted to get it to width and use our back line more. We started doing that. The whole idea was, hopefully, Belleville East would push up a little more and give us more space on the wings. It worked great. We started getting it to width and keeping the ball on the ground.”
Todd-Baptist has seen improvement from the Lancers in her second year as coach, but said they’re still learning how to put together all facets of the game.
“We struggle with the 80 minutes of soccer,” she said. “We just need to do a better job of (knowing) once a goal is scored, it’s not over.
“And we lack confidence. You can’t really coach that. You’ve got to work with it as it comes. Goals will come. Somebody’s got to get hungry enough to do it.”