(COTTLEVILLE, MO) The play was perfect in the inaugural contest for St. Louis Lions WPSL Sunday afternoon at Tony Glavin Soccer Complex.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t fully cooperate.
Hampered by extreme weather conditions, the locals cruised to a 4-0 exhibition victory over Springfield (MO) Demize in Women’s Premiere Soccer League (WPSL) action.
The match, which marked the return of women’s professional outdoor soccer since 2010, was highlighted by a pair of goals claimed within the first four minutes and a stubborn defense that didn’t allow a shot on net until deep in the opening frame.
Two minutes into the contest, Lions’ attacking midfielder Christina Rodriguez scored the club’s first-ever goal with her right-footer from six feet out.
Two minutes later, forward Mackenzie Rief pushed the score to 2-0 with a 40-footer that sailed over the outstretched arms of Demize goalkeeper Cheyenne Forshee.
As Springfield, also new to the WPSL this season, settled after the rocky start, play remained scoreless until another Lions’ dual-scoring sprint began at the 33-minute mark.
Forward Alex Johnson set up midfielder Lexi Pommer’s left-footed launcher that widened the Lions’ lead to 3-0.
Two minutes after that, Johnson recorded her third point of the match with a goal from four feet out resulting in a 4-0 score in favor of St. Louis.
Meanwhile, the Lions’ defensive lockdown continued with work from starters Mariah Loya, Racquel Rodriguez, Madison Schmeidt, Dani Pierce, Brittany Steiger and a host of others. This enabled Lions’ goalie Olivia Silverman not having to face the Demize’s first shot on goal until the 42-minute mark.
Outshooting Springfield 10-1 in the first half, Lions WPSL maintained the four-goal lead at intermission.
As sweltering as conditions were at the beginning of the match, the script was flipped about ten minutes deep into the second half as heat gave way to rain, wind, lightning and inevitably hail. As a result, play was halted.
The Lions maintained the goose egg as Silverman recorded her first WPSL career shutout.
St. Louis begins play in the five-team Heartland Conference within the league’s Central Region on Saturday in a road trip against Kansas City Atheltics WPSL.
The Lions’ next game at the Cottleville complex takes place Sunday, June 10 versus Des Moines Menace. Tickets are $10 apiece for adults and $5 for children ages 6-18.