To Fort Osage girls soccer coach Andrew Fletcher, the Indians’ 5-2 Suburban Middle Seven victory over visiting Oak Park came down to combining talent with hard work.
“They’ve been in the paper a lot and everybody talks about them at school, so sometimes, they think they can just show up,” Fletcher said. “And what I’ve been telling them is, ‘If you show up and play hard, you’re much more difficult to beat.’ That is the message we’re trying to get across.
“And it’s hard to (play hard) when you play 24 games – and we can’t do it all the time. But today, they got the message.”
However, sophomore forward Marina Rios and junior forward Zoe Bedsworth agreed the Indians (4-1 overall, 2-0 league) didn’t play hard all game. They started off “a little flat,” said Rios, who led Fort Osage with two goals. As a result, they fell behind 2-0 within the first 15 minutes.
“We came out pretty slow,” Bedsworth said. “And then, after they scored, it was an awakening – a rude awakening. We just picked up the momentum and got it together.”
Aspen O’Neal started Fort Osage’s comeback in the 17th minute by punching in Bedsworth’s free kick. Bedsworth then tied it in the 39th minute by putting a free kick into the far corner from about 30 yards out.
Bedsworth credited the goal partly to Rios, who drew the foul that set up the kick.
“She’s good at getting fouls,” Bedsworth said. “She’s so small.”
Rios also attributed her ability to draw fouls to her size.
“I get around people pretty well,” she said. “But whenever I get around, I tend to get knocked down.”
Leigh-Anne Bartlett made it 3-2 Fort Osage in the 50th minute. Rios then scored the first of her two goals by putting in a low shot in the 54th minute.
“I dribbled it and I had a little too ... (much) of a touch, so I tried to keep up with it,” Rios said. “The goalie was coming out, and defenders behind my back and I just took a quick shot. And it went in.”
Rios lined in a shot in the 69th minute for the final goal of the hard-working performance Fletcher saw.
“The thing I was really impressed with, even though we were two goals down, we were really dominating the game and ... heads never went down,” he said. “We kept playing hard and we scored goals.”