Wednesday, September 5, 2007

HHS v Sedalia Smith-Cotton (9.4.2007)

Baker’s birthday gift is Hickman win

Kewpies rally to beat Smith-Cotton.
By RYAN NILSSON OF THE TRIBU of the Tribune’s staff
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

At the beginning of Monday’s practice, Hickman boys soccer Coach Larry Thornburg asked his players to perform a standard drill.

One player lobbed the ball to his teammate, who was supposed to trap it with his thigh and volley it back with the inside of his foot.

It was not pretty. Balls bounced everywhere. The only player who tossed the ball and didn’t get a workout chasing errant volleys was Matt Baker’s partner. Baker trapped and volleyed with such precision that Thornburg had him demonstrate the drill to his teammates.

Yesterday, Baker showed the fans at Hickman Field how to lead a team to victory in the school’s home opener. He recorded two assists and scored one goal in the Kewpies come-from-behind 5-2 victory over Smith-Cotton. Hickman improved to 2-3 with the win.

"I played Matt at" forward "wing, which gives him a little more freedom than playing him in the middle," Thornburg said.

Baker, a sophomore who celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday, took full advantage of the position switch. He entered the game in the 12th minute as the Kewpies left forward, but Baker could be spotted all over the field.

His second assist came in the 21st minute, when he gained possession of the ball near the right touchline and passed to senior forward Evan Camden. Camden held off one defender and beat the goalie far post to tie the score 2-2.

In the 33rd minute, Smith-Cotton’s Raul Estrada ran on to a long free kick and appeared to have a breakaway. But Baker raced down the left sideline and stripped the ball from Estrada in front of the Hickman goal.

"I like playing outside because it gives me more space to move in and out," said Baker who has two goals and three assists on the season. "In the center I feel kind of restricted because I’m not used to playing in the center. I’ve always played on the wing."

Baker’s first assist almost came in the game’s 14th minute when his pass to Jervis Atagana created a breakaway opportunity. Atagana’s shot was saved by Tigers’ goalkeeper Ashton Barton, but Baker collected the rebound and was fouled. He took the free kick just outside the Tigers’ goal box and chipped it towards Atagana.

This time the junior forward didn’t miss. Atagana cut in front of Barton and headed the ball into the back of the net in the 15th minute to cut Smith-Cotton’s lead to 2-1.

Baker’s goal came with under two minutes to play in the first half. He beat Tommy Tally in a foot race down the left side and then Baker slid the ball past Barton with his right foot to put the Kewpies ahead 4-2.

"His touch was really good, and he was taking people on pretty consistently," Atagana said.
Hickman’s third goal was scored in the 38th minute by Mason Morawitz. The Tigers argued Morawitz was offside, but the referee disagreed. Taylor Cox knocked in a cross in the 47th minute to score the fifth goal.

Before Baker entered the match, Hickman trailed 2-0. Smith-Cotton scored in the fifth minute when Ruben Perez headed a free kick over goalkeeper Justin Schmidt. Six minutes later, the Tigers scored again. Isia Ramirez received a long pass from Perez, waited for the defense to commit and then laid it off for Estrada. Schmidt got beat by Estrada’s low shot and was then pulled in favor of Thomaz DeSouza.

"I had a goalie who had made two bad decisions, and I needed him to think about it," Thornburg said.

Schmidt returned to play the entire second half and made a number of fine plays, including a diving one-handed save on a bending free kick in the 53rd minute.

But the real hero was Baker, who said he planned to celebrate his four-point game and 16th birthday by going home and finishing his homework.

Reach Ryan Nilsson at

Picture: Parker Eshelman photo. Hickman goalkeeper Thomaz DeSouza makes a save on a goal attempt by Smith-Cotton’s Raul Estrada in the first half.

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Driving Directions

  • WAYNESVILLE : Take 63 South Towards Jeff City. Take US-54 W thru Osage Beach to Camdenton. Take MO Hwy 5 South to Lebanon , MO.Continue on MO Hwy 5 South to I-44 E towards Waynesville, MO. Take Exit 156, toward WAYNESVILLE/FORT LEONARD WOOD. Turn LEFT onto HIGHWAY H/I-44-BL/MO-H. Continue to follow I-44-BL.Turn RIGHT onto MO-17/W I-44-BL.1001 HISTORIC 66 W.
  • QUINCY TOURNAMENT IN QUINCY ILLINOIS: From Columbia Take 70 West to Kingdom City. Take 54 North to Mexico and then 54 east and north (54/19) to Laddonia. From Laddonia take 19 North to New London and then 61 North to Hannibal. When you get to Hannibal, you will need to take a right at the sign that says Quincy or to Illinois or to Springfield which is hwy 72 across the river. You will then pick up Highway 172 north to Quincy. In Quincy take the Broadway exit and go left.The fields we are playing on are located on State Street. The streets in Quincy that run West to East are numbered streets. The Mississippi River is to the West and the street numbers get higher the further East you go. When you enter from highway 172 the first street you will see is 48th street. Go left. At State St turn right and the park is a few blocks on the right. The Paul Dennis Complex is located on State between 36th and 48th street.
  • JEFFERSON CITY- 179 SOCCER PARK: Take 63 to Jeff City. Across the river take Hwy 50 toward Sedalia. Take the hwy 179 exit and turn right onto 179. The soccer park is about 3 miles on your left.
  • DESMET High school from CBC High school (about 3 miles): leave CBC and turn left (east) onto N Forty Dr. Turn right onto Conway Rd. Follow Conway Rd to left at S New Ballas Rd and it is about 1.2 miles to the high school at 233 N. New Ballas Rd.
  • CBC High school in St Louis: about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take I-70 east to US40E/US61S just past Wentzville. Head toward Chesterfield/Forrest Park. About 23 miles to Mason Rd exit. Take S Mason Rd north back over the highway. Turn right on N. Forty Dr and the high school is on your left about a mile at 1850 De la Salle Dr.
  • CAMDENTON: Hwy 54 out of Jeff City to Hwy 5 in Camdenton. Turn left (east) on to Hwy 5. Continue on Hwy 5 for 5 or 6 blocks and can see the school campus on your left (north side of road). Turn on to Dare Blvd and the stadium is a block or two behind the schools.
  • SMITHTON TOURNAMENT: I-70 west to Booneville. Exit on Hwy 5 south. From Hwy 5 take Hwy 50 west. Go to Hwy W and turn south. Follow Hwy W into Smithton. Turn east on to E. Washington St. (I think this is a continuation of Hwy W), Turn right (south) on to Myrtle Ave and the school is 550 Myrtle Ave. Games are at the school.
  • ROLLA: Hwy 63 out of Jefferson City. Continue on Hwy 63 into Rolla. Turn left (east) on to 10th St. Continue on 10th St about 8 blocks to N. Cedar St. High School is at corner of N. Cedar and 10th St. Soccer field is behind the high school.