The Nixa Lady Eagles returned to winning form Friday night. The victory came at home against the Bolivar Lady Liberators in the opening match of the Christian County tournament. The conditions were cold and damp, but Nixa did not let that bother them and began the game with intensity.
The Lady Eagles put pressure on the Lady Liberators defense almost immediately. The play was physical as most loose balls were challenged hard by both teams. The first score came in the 12th minute when senior Lauren Hillmer played the ball from the left wing position into the box. The ball was received by freshman Kelsey Bartell, who beat the keeper for a 1-0 lead.
The second score came later in the first half, in the 34th minute, when fellow freshman Kelsey Haist dribbled the ball from her center mid-field position towards the Bolivar 18 box. She was able to beat her would-be defenders and get off a shot. The shot was on target. The unassisted play gave the Lady Eagles a 2-0 advantage.
The third and final goal of the night was also scored by Kelsey Haist. It came in the 38th minute and was very similar to her previous goal. Kelsey received the ball near the half line in the middle of the field. After a quick few moves, she found herself with plenty of room to attack the goal. The Lady Liberators retreated to mark other attacking Nixa players and left the ball relatively unguarded. Haist took full advantage of the mistake and drove the ball past the keeper for her second goal of the night.
It should be noted that Haist and fellow center mid-fielder Jo Pavlowsky both played outstanding. They controlled the middle of the field with tough play and were frequently able to attack the defense. If this young duo (Pavlowsky is a sophomore) can continue to develop, it bodes well for the remainder of the Lady Eagles’ season.