and news from the Ozarks Conference as well!
The Ozark Tigers and Nixa Eagles wasted no time getting their season started Tuesday evening. Ozark came out strong in the first half according to several knowledgeable observers, controlling play for significant periods (I arrived during stoppage time in the first half). The result was a lead in the 26th minute on a goal by jr. Josh Maloney, assisted by jr. Robbie Curtis.
Nixa tied the score during stoppage time on a goal by sr. Kyle Shelley, assisted by fr. Kaleb Romero (pictured at left). Ozark was unphased and came right back to take the lead again before the clock wound down, again Curtis to Maloney.
The second half was a different story. The Eagles attacked early and often, seeing their first shot pushed wide off the upright by the Ozark GK in the first 30 seconds. That early aggressive effort would make the difference at the start of OT when jr. Austin Cozby’s run down the right side earned Nixa a set piece about 35 yards out along the right touch line. Wil Hanger’s service was to the far post and while GK Jason Taylor knocked the initial ball out, fr. Kaleb Romero sealed Ozark’s fate when he hammered home a volley into the upper left corner at the 40 second mark. Nixa 3, Ozark 2.
Kaleb is the lone freshman on the Nixa varsity roster and has earned some more minutes with his performance (2 assists and a game-winning goal) while sr. Kyle Shelley reinforced for Coach Evan Palmer why he has chosen to return to soccer after sitting out his junior season. With seniors Wil Hanger at sweeper, Jon Durbin running the midfield and Danny Curro wreaking havoc up top, Nixa saw the result you expect from a team of upper classmen. Add Guillermo Zuniga’s penetrating runs from midfield and I expect Nixa should improve on their 9-13-2 record last year.
Kickapoo – 4
at Rolla – 1
The Chiefs visited Rolla in an early Ozark Conference matchup and came away with the win. Tyler Williams scored 2 to open the game, assisted by Tyler Northrip and Heath Melugin. Melugin got the third from Adam Peterson. Rolla scored their goal early in the second half on a PK by Tyler Sinnott while Luke Prater completed the scoring for Kickapoo, unassisted.
Joplin – 2
at Lebanon – 0
Goals were scored by Max Duncan, freshman and Matt Leinhart, Junior for Joplin. Shutout by sophomore John McDermid.
Bolivar – 7
Marshfield – 2
The Jays scored first in this game, from lone senior Thomas Hyde. That woke up the older, more experienced Liberators. Jr James Reese, from Willis Zirschky, also scored for the Jays in the 2nd half.