The Lady Tigers failed to score in the first 20 minutes of their game against Branson Tuesday, but they hit the post on either side of the goal during that time. Turns out they were just zeroing in on the target.
In a span of less than three minutes after that, Republic scored three goals to take charge of their Central Ozark Conference match, setting up an easy 5-0 victory at home. Anna Jones scored twice to lead Republic, and goalkeeper Bella Drennan and the defense notched their third consecutive shutout.
Republic scored first in the 21st minute when Anna Jones crossed the ball across the box and Emma Pearce finished her run by booting the ball across the goal line into the back of the net. Two minutes later, Jones and Pearce teamed up again — this time with Jones scoring after a rebound off one of Pearce’s shots. That made it 2-0 with 17 minutes remaining in the first half.
It took just one more minute for Republic to extend the lead to 3-0. After a corner kick by Jones rattled around in the box, Jessica Montenegro corralled it and slid it left to right across the box from about eight yards out. It crossed the line just before Hannah Lease could get to it for the finish, and the goal was credited to Montenegro.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Jones scored her second goal. She took a pass from Jaiden Gibbs at the top left of the box and shot right to left across the face of the Branson keeper into the left corner of the net, making the score 4-0.
Lease, who barely missed a goal in the first half, got one of her own as time wound down in the second. Abbie Hicks fired a shot off the crossbar and Lease was there to knock the rebound into the net to account for the final 5-0 score.
Republic’s offensive outburst came despite playing without Clara Fronabarger, who’s nursing an injury, and despite working in a new formation that debuted just last week. Coach Kevin Hauck had been playing with Fronabarger as the lone forward for the first several weeks of the season, but added a second forward in the Carl Junction game. The two-forward set gave Republic plenty of opportunities Tuesday night.
“We’re winning games. It’s just that I’m not really sure…if we’ve 100% clicked yet,” Hauck said about his mid-season adjustments. “I feel like I haven’t gotten what I wanted to see out of a couple of girls, but tonight, I saw it, and I thought it fit well with them. So hopefully moving forward we get a little bit more comfortable with this [formation].”
Hauck also continued to rotate more players in and out to help keep his team fresh in the middle of a busy week. “I thought all the girls did a really nice job when they went in,” he said. “The formation we played tonight seemed to really fit everybody on what they do best.”
Republic improved to 10-3 overall. They’re 3-0 in the Central Ozark Conference.
Farr Better Player of the Game
Anna Jones spearheaded an aggressive attack that kept the Branson defense on its heels all evening. Jones assisted on Republic’s first goal, setting up Emma Pearce. Then she scored two more of her own before the end of the first half, and for her effort, she’s our Farr Better Player of the Game.
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