No true Conference games as it’s small-schools versus large schools today BUT you can see Class 1 State Champions Springfield Catholic go up against #1 ranked Large School Nixa tonight.
Nixa Eagles – 2
Springfield Catholic – 1
Senior Kelsey Haist gave Nixa only their second win ever over Catholic when she buried her shot from the top of the box into the upper 90 in the 77th minute. Sr Kelsey Bartell won a ball at the top of the box, with the ball falling to junior Lauren Moats, who dribbled into the left side of the box, pulling defenders with her. Her simple ball back to the penalty circle found Haist who one-timed her shot, which was just beyond the reach of the Catholic keeper (see photo).
It was an epic battle, the type of competition that shows the levels that can be reached by players who love the game and competing, regardless of gender. Add in the fact that these two teams are very familiar with each other, stocked with Club players on each side, and it was easy to see that bragging rights were on the line as well. The Class 3 Coaches in the region, and I, identified the Eagles as the early season favorites in Class 3 and tonight they delivered on that promise. For the Fightin’ Irish, losing at any time in the season is something to take personally.
The keeper’s established the tone early. Nixa’s Kristin Miller throwing herself at the feet of Shelby Hatz on the breakaway, Goetzinger charging out beyond the box to clear a Nixa effort. Catholic broke through first, with Bekah Bade running through an attempted clearance, breaking in alone and calmly slotting her shot to the far post 13 minutes in. It was a frenetic pace, exemplified by freshman Nicole Ortega later shaking off not one but two hard tackles to get down the line before crossing the ball into the box. Somehow Nixa held on as Catholic were unable to convert any of their set pieces tonight, a critical element in the Eagle’s win.
The Eagle’s showed a confident approach to the game that only comes from experience. They played their game, run by Haist and Moats, that concentrates on simple passes, working the triangle and getting numbers into the box. The fact that they were able to bring not 11, but 17 players to that effort, led to fresher legs at the end. The tying goal was scored in the 37th minute, moved down the left side before Courtney Frerichs found Rachel Murphy near the penalty circle. Her shot bounced off a defender and into the net as the keeper was unable to recover from her initial dive. Haist got her game winner in the final 3 minutes of the second half. Coincidence? I think not.
Catholic will look back at this game and justifiably feel they could have won, with more and better opportunities in the box. Nixa was opportunistic and the game-winner came as they were imposing themselves on the Irish defense over the final 20 minutes. A simple adjustment, which reduced the breakaway opportunities Catholic was able to create in the first half, helped give Nixa the confidence to attack Catholic and get a win that will help them in late May when it matters most.
Republic Tigers – 2
Carl Junction Bulldogs – 5
Marshfield Blue Jays – 7
Branson Pirates – 0
Danielle Coffman scores four goals, Alex Cantrell scores one and has four assist. Kylea Ryser and Morgan Blackstock both add one each.
[smugmug url=”http://sgfsoccer.smugmug.com/hack/feed.mg?Type=gallery&Data=16523394_4GTpY&format=rss200″ title=”Springfield%20Soccer%20Photos” description=”Support%20This%20Site%20-%20Purchase%20Photos%21%20%20Click%20on%20any%20photo%20to%20be%20taken%20to%20site” imagecount=”100″ start=”1″ num=”15″ thumbsize=”Th” link=”smugmug” captions=”true” sort=”true” window=”false” smugmug=”true” size=”M”]