It was over two months ago when the Neosho Wildcats and Glendale Falcons met for a regular-season battle at the Parkview Tournament in Springfield.
The Falcons came out on top 2-0 in that Sept. 10 matchup. This time, the two squads will meet with much bigger implications on the line.
Playoff implications, that is.
Glendale (24-3) plays host to Neosho (14-4) in a Class 3 state quarterfinal matchup at 1 p.m. Saturday in Springfield.
In the first matchup between these two foes, defense dominated as goals were at a premium. In fact, Glendale didn’t score until late in the game.
“In that game, (Glendale) didn’t score until about 10 minutes left in the game and then they got a free kick and scored a goal on that as time expired,” Neosho coach James Carter said.
That free kick was something that stood out to Carter about the Falcons as he prepares his team for Glendale.
“They are really good in the air,” Carter said. “They do a good job with free kicks and long throw-ins.”
With a week’s preparation for the Falcons this time around, the Wildcats look to combat the free-kick ability of their opponent with some of their own offense.
“We need to hold possession,” Carter said. “We’ve talked about not fouling as much. But if they get one of those opportunities we hope to be able to challenge the ball as good as we can. I’ve been talking to the team about playing our style of play. We beat Bolivar, but our style of play wasn’t really there.”
Neosho enters play following a Class 3 District 6 tournament run of three wins that saw the squad outscore its opponents 19-1. The lone goal they allowed came in the district championship against Bolivar.
“We have matured so much,” Carter said. “This is my 4th year (with Neosho), so the freshmen when I started are seniors now and it has been a rewarding experience to see them grow.”
Glendale’s Class 3 District 5 tournament run was very similar. The Falcons outscored their opponents 19-2. Those two goals came against Springfield Catholic in the district championship.
These district champions are primed for their rematch in the state tournament.
“We need to execute tactically,” Carter said. “When we get our chances, we have to finish them. We may not get many chances against (Glendale). I don’t think they will get many chances against us, either. So when we get those opportunities we have to take advantage.”
Speaking of a rematch, these two units have gotten somewhat familiar with one another in the past four seasons.
Meeting on the soccer field has become a little bit of a regularity for Neosho and Glendale, especially in the postseason.
They met in the state tournament back in 2018, where Glendale walked away with a 6-2 victory. Two years later, they crossed paths in the 2020 state tournament where Glendale topped Neosho 3-1.