From staff reports
REPUBLIC, Mo. —
On its first appearance in the MSHSAA girls soccer playoffs, Carl Junction provided some quick excitement with an early goal.
However, that couldn’t hold a candle to the finish.
The Bulldogs saw a 2-0 halftime lead disappear, but Kaylen Kennedy scored with 30 seconds remaining to give Carl Junction a 3-2 victory over Republic on Wednesday night in a Class 2 sectional game.
The Bulldogs (19-5) advance to a quarterfinal game against Helias Catholic at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jefferson City. The Crusaders (15-8) won at Union 3-2 in overtime in their first-round contest.
Republic (18-7) tallied twice in the first 25 minutes of the second half to pull even at 2-2, and with 10 minutes left, a Carl Junction player received a red card, meaning the Bulldogs would have to play the rest of the match one player short.
Playing 10 against 11, the last thing the Bulldogs wanted was to go into overtime.
“There was a throw-in with two minutes left, and we were trying to hurry,” coach Kevin Hauck said. “We threw the ball in. They got a touch on it first, but one of our centerbacks stepped up and kicked the ball to the back side of the field.
“It was bouncing and Kaylen was able to run over and just got enough foot on it to squeeze it past the goalie. It was exciting.”
Callie Degani’s unassisted goal in the fourth minute put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard, and Taylor Beck scored 13 minutes later off an assist from Kylie Roach to make it 2-0.
“Those first two goals were huge for us,” Hauck said. “We wanted to come out and attack right off. We were not as attack-minded the second half.”
Republic, which beat Carl Junction 1-0 during the regular season, tied the game on goals by Sara Marcotte and Sierra Casagrand.
Carl Junction held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal. Bulldogs goalkeeper Kira Wentworth made three saves, and Republic’s Taylor Patton had four saves.