Just like in the district semifinals, Republic allowed an early goal on a corner kick in the district championship game Thursday night. Unlike the district semifinals, the Lady Tigers weren’t able to recover. Nixa rode the momentum of that first goal to a 3-0 shutout win at Republic Thursday, capturing a district championship and ending the Lady Tigers’ season.
Republic coach Kevin Hauck says the early goal by Nixa played a big role in the outcome of the game.
“I think that was pretty big going forward. I felt pretty good going into [the game], and really, up to that point, we had a lot of pressure on … their side of the field,” Hauck says. “That was kind of a downer coming out of the gates there.”
Republic’s best scoring opportunity of the first half came a few minutes later when Emma Pearce briefly had a 1-on-1 with Nixa keeper Riley McClintock, but McClintock charged at Pearce to force a quick shot, and the ball rolled wide left.
In Tuesday’s semifinal, Republic had overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Branson, but Nixa made sure that didn’t happen by continuing to control possession with a patient attack in the second half. The Lady Eagles went on top 2-0 in the 50th minute, then scored again to put the game away in the 61st minute.
Republic ends its season 14-7. The Lady Tigers allowed just 22 goals all season, shattering the old school record of 30 goals allowed in a season. Goalkeeper Tara Campbell and the defense ended the year with 11 shutouts.
Despite the disappointing ending to 2018, Hauck says he saw positive signs for the program throughout the year.
“We had a really good win against Northwest, out of St. Louis. But losing 2-1 to Ozark and losing to Nixa in overtime (in the regular season) — being right there with those schools and not being able to finish them off — but we’ve never been competitive with those schools coming up to this point,” Hauck says. “So for us to be competitive with them this season, I think, was a huge step forward. Going into next year, we know we can compete with them.”
The team will return nine starters next year, in addition to several more role players from this year’s team. “We did a great job of competing with the youth that we had this year against some really good schools,” he says. “I think the future’s looking really bright for us.”