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Defense Shines Again in COC Shutout

The Lady Tigers won their third straight game, knocking off Willard in a Central Ozark Conference match, 2-0. Republic took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute on an ‘own goal’ by a Willard defender, who knocked the ball into the net. The goal was officially credited to Clara Fronabarger, who had played the ball into the box. Emma Pearce had been poised to knock the ball in if the Willard defender hadn’t done it first.

In the second half, Signe Wulff made it 2-0 after a corner kick by Anna Jones. Jones played it into the middle and Wulff fired a powerful shot that pegged a defender and bounced back out. On her second try, Wulff wound up and found the back of the net.

The Lady Tigers have rebounded from a brief, two-game losing streak last week with three straight wins, including two shutouts in three games. (They won two games — against Hillboro and Northwest — over the weekend.)

Our rotation has been quicker and our spacing’s been a lot better throughout the field, as well,” says coach Kevin Hauck. “We just had a little bit of an off game there against Bolivar. We crowded each other, but we figured it out over the weekend with two good wins. Spacing’s been better. Passing’s been a lot better, and our defense corrected it quickly.”

Goalkeeper Tara Campbell says the defense in front of her has been “amazing… Grace (Lightfoot) and Regan (Holmes) have really stepped up and they’re working really good together.”

Hauck credits “leadership” for his team’s defensive excellence.

“Grace Lightfoot … really does a good job of getting where she needs them to be. She’s kind of like a general out there on the field to the defense for us,” Hauck says. “Regan, as a freshman, she’s playing with a lot of confidence. Her and Grace have a great relationship to each other back there, and really communicate and feed off each other. That’s been really important for us.”

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Farr Better Player of the Game

Grace Lightfoot can be easy to overlook — unless you’re an opposing forward trying to get the ball in the net. Lightfoot is the anchor of a Republic defense that has turned in two shutouts in the last three games, and her performance in the middle of the defense Tuesday earned her honors as Farr Better Player of the Game.

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