By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
A little less than three weeks after losing 1-0 at Republic, the Carl Junction girls soccer team again will make the trek to face the Tigers.
This time, the Bulldogs will be doing so in the MSHSAA playoffs.
Carl Junction travels to play Republic at 6 p.m. today in the Class 2 state tournament.
“Republic has a good team,” Carl Junction coach Kevin Hauck said. “They have two strong scorers and a good coach. We know it’s going to be a good game. Our girls are prepared for a long battle. They don’t want the season to end yet.”
In the past meeting, Carl Junction and Republic were scoreless for the first 75 minutes.
The Bulldogs looked to score first when Anissa Williams’ shot attempt hit the crossbar. Republic (18-6) gained possession of the ball off the miss and Sierra Casagrand scored the game’s only goal on the break.
Carl Junction (18-5) had nine shots on goal in the loss.
“We did have opportunities,” Hauck said. “We just missed on a couple. We missed wide. Another hit the crossbar. We just weren’t able to capitalize on those opportunities.”
The Bulldogs are coming off a pair of 8-0 wins over Webb City and Carthage during district competition. In the program’s fifth year of existence, Carl Junction captured its first district title in girls soccer.
“Words can’t explain how great it feels,” Hauck said. “The girls are so thrilled to get that victory. It meant a lot to the school and has meant a lot to program. Hopefully, the younger girls will see that success and work hard to achieve more in the future.”
Carl Junction boasts a young roster with only one senior.
Sophomore Sydney Solberg leads the Bulldogs with 29 goals and 20 assists. Freshman Callie Degani and juniors Taylor Beck and Williams have scored 25, 24 and 23 goals, respectively. Freshman Kira Wentworth is the team’s goalkeeper.
The young Bulldogs opened the season 1-3.
Hauck credits a lot of the improvement to a difficult schedule. All five of Carl Junction’s losses have been to playoff teams with Springfield Catholic alive in Class 1, Nixa alive in Class 3 and Bentonville and Rogers Heritage making the Arkansas postseason.
“I try to make sure we have a tough schedule,” Hauck said. “I think it prepares us. I want to play some of the best, and I think we do.”
And Carl Junction has the opportunity to avenge one of its five losses today.
“I think the main thing we need to do is finish opportunities,” Hauck said. “We have to limit their best players’ touches. If we do those two things, we have a great opportunity to win the game.”