By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
This soccer match — Carthage vs. Rolla — was anticipated.
You know, sort of like a shootout by two touted gunslingers in the wild, wild West.
“We knew all along, once both teams were assigned to Class 2 (from Class 3), there was a good chance we would meet at this point,” Carthage coach Jacob Osborne said Thursday.
Now, the showdown is here.
Starting time is 2 p.m. on Saturday on the Carthage pitch in the quarterfinal round of the MSHSAA Class 2 playoffs.
“Definitely, this is one of the toughest matches of our season,” Osborne said.
The teams posted home shutouts in the sectional round of the playoffs on Tuesday night. Carthage (20-8) beat Willard 5-0 and Rolla (24-4) handled Washington Saint Francis Borgia 2-0.
“I haven’t seen Rolla in person or on film,” Osborne said. “I watched closely their results in the Ozark Conference. We played several teams from the Ozark Conference. We’ve come up with a scouting report also by talking with other coaches.
“Rolla is very good,” Osborne said. “They have good size and they take advantage of that size. They’re dangerous on free kicks. They have an outstanding player in Aaron Froehlich.”
Froehlich, a junior, entered the sectional match with 65 goals and 13 assists. The shutout was the 16th of the campaign for goalie Gage Scurlock.
“Rolla has had a great year,” Osborne said. “We understand the 24 wins are a single-season record (for the Bulldogs). Coach Mike Howard has been very successful with both the boys and girls programs.”
Rolla, which won 2-1 at Ozark Conference co-champion Joplin, won its third straight title by beating Jefferson City Helias Catholic 3-2 for District 10 supremacy. That made it four titles in five years for the Bulldogs.
Carthage entered the sectional after its fifth district crown in a row.
The Carthage-Rolla winner advances to a semifinal at 1 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Blue Springs High School. Windsor Imperial (12-11-1) or Lutheran South (21-5-1) will be the opponent.
Osborne, a 2002 Carthage graduate, said the Tigers finished fourth in 2004 under Matt Huntley in their previous semifinal appearance.