The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

May 15, 2012

Willard nips Joplin 1-0 in district soccer tournament semifinals

The Joplin High School girls soccer team finally yielded to No. 1 seed Willard in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 12 Tournament.

The youthful Tigers scored on a breakaway in the 76th minute to prevail 1-0 at Junge Field.

Freshman Dylan Owens’ shot hit the left goal post but she alertly stayed with it and cashed the rebound.

“I knew it would be tough,” Willard coach  Brad Hornback said. “We aren’t used to turf. It was on their home field.

“But (fourth-seeded) Joplin played outstanding,” Hornback said. “My hat’s off to them.

“We beat them (the visiting Eagles) 3-0 early in the season — I believe it was their second game — and then they played a more wide-open match,” Hornback said.

“We have speed,” Hornback said. “They neutralized our speed by continuing to pack it in.”

Central Ozark Conference Large Division member Willard, which had four freshman and only one senior among its starters, improved to 15-6 and will play Springfield Central at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Junge for the title. Joplin finished 9-15.

Central beat Springfield Parkview 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in regulation and two scoreless 15-minute sessions.

Said Eagle coach Ed Miller: “Our girls played very well. They left it all on the field. We were more prepared to make a better showing than in our first meeting. We gave them all they wanted. We competed.

“Their goal was a good hustle play,” Miller said. “Owens hit it, followed it and the ball came back to her.

“We played hard and had some opportunities to win,” Miller said. “Our girls were a little worn out after all those minutes on Monday (a 1-0 win on sudden-death penalty kicks against Carthage).”

Joplin statistics had Willard with a 7-4 advantage in shots. The freshman keepers — Joplin’s Megan Rowe and Willard’s Katie Harlan — had 3 saves apiece.

Said a grinning Hornback: “Katie bobbled a couple but she also had some good saves.”

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