By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Carthage and Monett have the advantage of playing at home tonight in the sectional round of the MSHSAA soccer playoffs.
Class 2 Carthage (19-8), coming off a fifth straight district championship, entertains Willard (15-9) at the Fair Acres Family YMCA.
Class 1 Monett (13-12), returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2001, plays host to two-time defending state champion Springfield Catholic (23-4).
Carthage is back in Class 2 after four years in Class 3, Carthage coach Jacob Osborne noted.
Each match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Ticket price, set by MSHSAA, is $6.
Willard vs. Carthage
The clash of Tigers already has happened once this season with Carthage handling the visitor 2-0 in early September in the Central Ozark Conference Large Division.
Osborne’s Tigers lost only to champion Nixa — 4-3 on penalty kicks — in league competition.
“Willard has a very good defense,” Osborne said. “They play extremely hard. They play with discipline and patience. Winning ‘50-50 balls’ will be very important.
“It was a collective effort from our team,” Osborne said of the earlier meeting. “We played good defense.
“Our styles are very different,” Osborne said. “They like to counter-attack. We like to possess the ball.”
The probable Carthage starters include junior Jose Alberto in goal.
Defenders include senior Misael Maturino, junior Miguel Henriquez, junior Mario Zuniga and sophomore Jesse Alvarado.
Midfielders are junior Henry Oxlaj, junior Jonas Smith, senior Erik Estrada and senior Victor Lopez.
Forwards are senior Ismael Serratos and sophomore Victor Marin.
Osborne is assisted by Caleb Bayless and Butch Loveall.
The Carthage-Willard winner will face Rolla or Washington St. Francis Borgia in the quarterfinals.
Monett vs. Catholic
The Cubs, who beat Cassville on its pitch 4-3 in overtime for District 12 supremacy, and Irish are meeting for the first time this season.
Said Monett coach Dan Janssen: “They (the Irish) have a number of tremendous players. They’re a flexible team in that they’re patient and will find the system that works. They’ve been there before. Obviously, they know how to win.”
Janssen, who’s in his second season at Monett, is assisted by Cristobal Villa.
The likely Monett goalie, Janssen said, is junior Ephriam Ceniceros.
Defenders are senior David Garcia, sophomore Jovany Serrano, senior Leo Regalado and senior Jorge Aceves.
Midfielders are sophomore Jairo Rueda, junior Eddie Aceves (Jorge’s brother), senior Luis Gonzalez, senior Will Snider and senior Francisco Morales.
Misael Cordero, a sophomore, is at forward for the Cubs.
The Monett or Catholic will advance to tackle Crocker or Sedalia Sacred Heart.