The Lady Eagles lost Thursday night to cross-county rival, Ozark 4-2. This marks the young team’s fourth straight loss. The game was hard fought on both sides, with the physical play that usually accompanies this rivalry.
The scoring was opened in the 30th minute when a shot from Ozark was rebounded by #10, Erica Hogan who tapped the ball into the open net. The first half ended with Ozark leading 1-0.
The second half began with Ozark pressing the Lady Eagles. Nixa was not able to match their first half intensity in the first 5-10 minutes of the second half and the Tigers took advantage of it. Three minutes into the second half, Hogan again put the ball in the back of the net. This time, straight on from 25 yards, she had a solid strike that was above the outstretched arms of the Kristen Miller.
Seven minutes later, in the 50th minute, #16 Megan Gunnels hit a low ball that skipped in the wet grass and through the arms of Miller. The strike was from 22 yards and found the left side of the net.
The Lady Eagles did not quit however, and began to once again discover their first half form. Senior Stephanie Allen received a ball at the half line, took on two Tiger defenders as she dribbled the ball the entire length of Ozark’s half of the field and eventually beat the oncoming rush of their keeper to slide the ball into the open net. It was a courageous play and gave a spark to the Lady Eagles.
The 71st minute saw the Lady Tigers taking a free kick from just outside the right elbow of the 18 box. Coach Davidson directed his team in a perfectly executed set play. #12, Megan Jenisch took a tapped pass and place the ball perfectly inside the left side of the goal for the 4-1 lead.
Stephanie Allen would score the final goal of the game in the 75th minute. Near the end line to the left of the goal, Allen was able to fight off a defender and come free for the shot. There was little room but Allen managed to find the right angle and beat the goalie on the far side.
But for the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Lady Eagles matched the Lady Tigers. It should give them confidence as the season continues that they can play with the better teams in the area. Hopefully, consistency will be developed as this young team matures. If they can play hard for all 80 minutes, this team will be dangerous come districts.
Nixa – 2
Ozark – 4