Sometimes in sports the statistics do not tell the story.
The Bettendorf girls soccer team controlled its nonconference contest with Rock Island Alleman on Friday but the Bulldogs could only find the back of the net once. But that was enough for Bettendorf to stay undefeated on the young season with a 1-0 victory over the Pioneers at TouVelle Stadium.
Bettendorf (4-0 overall) finished with 16 shots on goal to just two for the visitors and recorded 10 corner kicks while Alleman (5-5) did not have a corner the entire game. But a combination of the Bulldogs not quite having good connections or making good decisions in the final third and Alleman making some good defensive plays left the final score close.
"There was no change in our game plan so give credit to Alleman," Bulldogs coach Todd Hornaday said. "We were a little off, and the girls knew it. They came off at half and said 'Geez, why aren't we up more?' You get games like this, but in the end you have to figure out ways to hold on and win the game, and we did that."
After putting on near clinic of passing and touch on the ball in a win against Muscatine on Tuesday, the Bulldogs seemed a half-step too far in front or behind passes or they fired shots from 25-plus yards out that did not have much chance of going in.
The Bulldogs also managed to commit 17 fouls in the game, which chopped up any chance of a flow to the contest. Hornaday added that four of his players were coming off a track meet on Thursday and Bettendorf was missing sophomore winger Olivia Lewis, who was attending a school function. Lewis was a big reason for the win against Muscatine.
Hornaday also speculated that the weather did not help either. The forecast for Friday was for temperatures close to 70 degrees, which instead turned into a blustery day with wind chills closer to 40 degrees.
"Maybe we were expecting a nice, warm-weather game and instead, it is miserable," Hornaday said. "We'll collect the win and go from here."
Still, the hustle and attacking mentality of Bulldogs sophomore Mia Griffin and junior Jaylen Cangas were a big reason the Pioneers had few chances on offense. Griffin was all over the field, breaking up plays and getting the offense going on counterattacks in the midfield.
"Mia had a really good game and she also took charge of the team with her communication," Hornaday said.
Cangas was just a little off on her passes but showed touch in the tough conditions and was tough with the ball. Freshman Abigail Schafer also showed no fear in the attacking zone, recording a pair of shots on goal for the hosts.
The only goal of the game came in the sixth minute when Bulldogs defender Elizabeth Park took a free kick at a right-side angle from about 20 yards out. Park's kick was a high floating shot that appeared to be in a dangerous area for an attacking player to finish it off. But the ball kept carrying, and neither a Pioneers defender nor goalie Megan Tanghe got a piece of the ball as in sailed into the left-hand corner of the net.
However, Tanghe was a big reason the visitors stayed close. The sophomore finished with nine saves for the game, including a point-blank save with her left hand after the Bulldogs' Eleanor Drexler got off a shot from 8 yards out in the 38th minute. Tanghe also came off her line several times to snuff out other chances.
Alleman sophomore defender Graycen Bates made a big play in the 59th minute to keep the score close, clearing a ball away from Bettendorf's Allison Whitaker just as Whitaker was set to take a shot inside the penalty area. Hornaday also gave credit to Pioneers senior center-back Dora Cacari for making things tough on the Bulldogs.
"She is a terrific player and made some plays at key times," he said.
Alleman coach Randy Bollman liked the challenge of playing one of the best programs in the area and said his young team performed well with some key Western Big Six matches right around the corner.
"Obviously, Bettendorf is a powerhouse, but I like how we stayed composed in the second half," Bollman said. "We tried to push in the first half, and we moved the ball around quite a bit. But for us to stay compact and composed in the back line against a team like that, they did great."