The Hopkinsville Lady Tigers had a tough test ahead of them to open the 2019 season and it was even tougher without sophomore forward Ana Hernandez on the pitch.
Hopkinsville mustered just three shots offensively and allowed the South Warren Lady Spartans into the defensive third on multiple occasions in a 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Champions on Tuesday night.
Lady Tigers' head coach Jeff Addison said his team possessed the ball well, but the length of the game got to his players at times.
"We possessed the ball really well," Addison said. "When we had energy and when we were fit, things looked really good. As soon as we can keep our conditioning going forward, I think we'll be in good shape."
While South Warren got a lot of opportunities offensively, the only mark it was able to grab on the scoreboard came off of a corner, where the Lady Spartans bent the ball in off the kick to get the 1-0 advantage halfway through the first half.
Playing from behind the remainder of the game, Hopkinsville attempted to get something going into the offensive third of the pitch, but every time they had an opening, South Warren closed the door quickly, halting the attack and pushing the ball back into the midfield.
Addison said the Lady Spartans were dropping their defenders and closing gaps, which was keeping them from putting pressure on goal.
"They were dropping off," Addison said. "They would pressure immediately on the forwards, then they would drop off and we couldn't get anything through. It's something we need to get to. But it's early and I'm happy with what I saw."
A lot of the struggles offensively could have been attributed to the loss of Hernandez, who missed Tuesday's game due to injury. Hernandez scored 18 goals last season, which led the team as a freshman.
Addison said she brings a lot to his team's offense and her off the pitch showed on the scoresheet.
"We don't have a lot going forward, she can hold the ball," he said. "She just provides stability in the attack. We missed that tonight and hopefully, we'll have her back soon."
Addison said going forward there are some things he wants to work on with his bunch on both the offensive and defensive ends.
"Getting the ball to the forward's feet and having them hold," he said. "Us getting forward to support that. I'm going to work on some defensive stuff because we gave up a lot of shots that maybe should've went in for them. That kind of concerned me a little bit."
The Lady Tigers are back in action at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Paducah Tilghman.
South Warren 1, Hopkinsville 0
SWHS (1-0) 1 0 -- 1
HHS (0-1) 0 0 -- 0
SWHS: Hasani (goal)