The Lady Eagles returned to Joplin’s Junge Field on Monday evening for the opening round of the Class 2, District 12 playoffs. The game against Joplin rematched the two Lady Eagles’ teams. In the previous week, Nixa and Joplin battled evenly up to the final two minutes of regulation when Joplin scored and gained the victory.
Monday’s game was eerily similar to the earlier contest. Once again, play was back and forth between the two squads, moving quickly from the defensive line to the forward line. Play was generally disorganized for both teams, but hard fought.
Joplin opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Stephanie Taylor crossed the ball to the right side of the 18 box. #10 Lauren Coppel volleyed the ball out of the air from 15 yards into the net. The quick strike did not allow Nixa keeper Kristen Miller time to move on her line to the far side. It was a good play, excellent strike and gave Joplin the early advantage.
Later in the half, freshman Courtney Frerichs helped Nixa get on the board. On a ball deep in Joplin’s defending third, just above the top of the 18 box, Frerichs put substantial pressure on the Joplin defense. A deflection off of Frerichs resulted in the ball rolling towards Joplin’s goal. Another defender now was running toward her own goal to the ball. As she attempted to clear before Frerichs and other Nixa players pounced, she inadvertently struck the ball into her own net. The hustling play by Freirichs resulted in Nixa tying the score 1-1.
The scored would remain tied at 1 throughout the second half, first overtime period (15 minutes in district playoff) and second overtime period (15 minutes). During the final 70 minutes of play, both teams had their chances. It also became obvious that Nixa was in better condition than Joplin. The Joplin squad was clearly drained by the end of the second overtime. Nixa was also visibly tired, but not to the same degree as Joplin.
Shootouts had not been kind for Nixa on the 2008 year, with losses to both Neosho and Willard. This time was different. Nixa scored on their first three shots: senior Stephanie Allen, senior Jacklyn Finley, and freshman Anne Pierce. Joplin was unable to connect on any of their first three shots as Nixa keeper Miller made two saves and one shot went wide. It was a thrilling victory. The 110 minutes of play would take its toll however.
Final Score PKs