High-pressure situations are getting to be old hat for the Lady Tigers soccer team. For the third time in six matches, Republic settled the outcome with penalty kicks––and for the second time, Republic came out on top. This time it was a 3-2 (4-3) win over Springfield Central that ended when Central’s final kick banged into the crossbar and rebounded back out.
Before the deciding kick, Republic goalkeeper Bella Drennan had given Republic the advantage with a save. The score evened up again when Sarah Hicks sailed her kick high, but Republic clinched on the Bulldogs’ miss on the very next shot.
Central had taken the lead ten minutes into the game, but Republic evened the score in the 37th minute when Fronabarger scored from about 25 yards out, floating the ball over the hands of the Central keeper and into the right side of the net.
After halftime, Republic controlled possession for most of the game, but missed several good opportunities to score. Fronabarger scored her second goal and gave the Lady Tigers their first lead in the 48th minute, weaving between defenders and sliding the ball past an advancing keeper for a 2-1 lead. But Central’s Courtney Tucker scored the equalizer with nine minutes remaining in regulation to even the score, and neither team could manage to score again.
Coach Kevin Hauck says even though his team controlled possession late, the Bulldogs’ aggressive counter-attacks kept them in the game. “I think they did a nice job of catching us on counters throughout the night,” he said. “I truly believe we had most of the possession in the second half, and we had a lot of good… opportunities that we just didn’t connect on–but they did a nice job of staying in it and staying aggressive… catching us off guard and slipping a couple past us.”
In all three Republic overtime games, Drennan has played well in goal during penalty kicks. Even in Republic’s overtime loss to Sedalia Smith-Cotton, she got her hands on several shots, but couldn’t keep them out of the net.
“This is her first year as a varsity starter and she’s done a great job whenever it’s come to PKs,” Hauck said. “She’s been reading the ball really well for us. I feel really confident when we’re going into PKs with her.”
The win improved Republic’s record to 4-2. The Lady Tigers will play three games at home this weekend as part of the Girls Southwest Showdown. They play Poplar Bluff at 6 pm Friday, Camdenton at 8:30 am Saturday, and Jefferson City at 1 pm Saturday.