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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Six Lady Bulldogs form a wall to help goalie McKinzee Swaim (right) prevent a Lady Pirate free kick late in the second half of the Decatur-Locust Grove varsity girls' soccer match at Bulldog Stadium in Decatur March 1. The Decatur defensive line includes Maritza Matul (left), Stephanie Sandoval, Abby Tilley, Maria Orellana, Skyler Bell and Heidi Rubi.

— The new Decatur Lady Bulldog varsity girls' soccer team faced a tough opponent March 1 as they squared off against the Locust Grove Lady Pirates for a scrimmage match at Bulldog Stadium in Decatur. Both teams were in the first year of competition and this match would lay the foundation for the season to come.

The first 20 minutes of the match belonged to the Lady Pirates as they managed to get five shots past Decatur's goalkeeper, Deily Godoy. However, Godoy made over 10 saves throughout the first half, preventing the Lady Pirates from achieving a blowout over the Lady Bulldogs.

At halftime, Decatur's new soccer coach, Shelton McKinzie, along with his assistant, Ashley Riggles, made a few modifications to the Decatur lineup, putting McKinzee Swaim in as goalie and moving Godoy to the middle defensive position.

These modifications and several substitutions off the bench proved to work for the Lady Bulldogs as they played much more aggressively in the second half. Decatur was able to go on the offensive, attacking the goal several times throughout the last 10 minutes of the match.

Jackie Hernandez, one of the Lady Bulldogs' key forwards and team captain, found an opening in the Lady Pirates defensive line. With a series of fakes, she managed to catch Locust Grove's goalkeeper off guard, sending the ball into the net for the Lady Bulldogs' first score of the season and the only one of the night for Decatur.

As time ticked off the clock, the Locust Grove Lady Pirates managed to score twice to take home a 7-1 victory over the Decatur Lady Bulldogs.

McKinzie acknowledged several of his Lady Bulldogs after the game for their outstanding performances during the 40-minute scrimmage. They included Abby Tilley, Airbus Dungsungneon, Stephanie Sandoval, Maritza Matul, Dania Uribe and Jackie Hernandez.

The Decatur Lady Bulldogs will be on the road for three preconference matches, the first of which will be against Bentonville Junior Varsity March 5. The Lady Bulldogs will take on Rogers JV in Rogers March 8 at 5 p.m, and Shiloh Christian in Springdale March 12 at 5 p.m. They return to Bulldog Stadium in Decatur March 15 to take on Subiaco Academy. Game time for that match will be 5:30 p.m.

Sports on 03/07/2018

Print Headline: Lady Bulldogs begin first soccer season with a loss to Lady Pirates

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