By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
For the eighth time, the Joplin Eagles soccer team must settle for second place in district.
Kickapoo scored three goals in the first five minutes, then held on for a 3-0 win over Joplin on Friday night in the Class 3 District 12 Tournament at Junge Field.
Joplin ended its season with a 21-3-1 record.
“We’re 1-for-9,” Joplin coach Ed Miller said. “We have like eight second-place finishes. It seems like we get here to the championship game ... We have a great season, but we get here and just come up short.”
A fast start by Kickapoo had the Eagles playing from behind all game.
Kickapoo’s Joshua McCutcheon scored on a corner kick at the 2:04 mark of the game. About a minute-and-a-half later, Turner Adams made a free kick. Then at the 4:47 mark, Kickapoo senior forward Hunter Durham scored the Chiefs’ third goal.
“There were a lot of mental mistakes in the first five minutes,” Miller said. “I thought we were ready to come out and play, but apparently ... We didn’t put somebody on a free kick. We didn’t put somebody on a corner kick. It was the small mental mistakes early. After that, it was pretty much an even game.”
In the 23rd minute, the Eagles had a breakaway and senior forward Ryan Estus had a chance at a goal. However, Kickapoo goalkeeper Jesse Wentz met Estus right in front of the net and stopped the kick.
“We figured we had a lot of time left,” Miller said. “We had some chances, but we just didn’t put them in the net. We needed to get some goals to get some momentum back our way.”
Kickapoo coach Phil Hodge said his team was highly motivated for this game after losing 2-1 in two overtimes to Joplin earlier this season.
“The guys came out fired up,” Hodge said. “We wanted this bad. They beat us on our homefield in the regular season, so we’ve just been looking forward to another chance at playing them.”
The win gives the state’s fifth-ranked Chiefs (21-3) the district title and advances them to sectionals Tuesday against Glendale.
Joplin ended a strong season, scoring more than 120 goals while allowing only 16.