The Lady Tigers celebrated their seniors on a chilly night at Republic, but it was a freshman who handled the bulk of the scoring.
Jaiden Gibbs scored two of Republic’s three goals in a 3-1 win over conference rival Webb City. Anna Jones––one of nine seniors honored by Republic before the game––scored the other.
Gibbs got the scoring started in the 13th minute when she swept a shot left to right across the face of the goal, off the fingertips of the Webb City keeper and into the net. Jones followed that up a couple of minutes later from about 30 yards out. Her shot, too, went off the fingertips of Webb City’s keeper, and it made the score 2-0.
After Webb City closed the gap to 2-1 on an own-goal by the Lady Tigers in the 23rd minute, neither team was able to score for the remainder of the first half. But about four minutes after halftime, Gibbs scored again. Abbie Hicks charged up the right wing and crossed the ball into the middle. The Webb City keeper grabbed the ball briefly, but it popped loose, and Gibbs was able to poke it home. That made the score 3-1 and ended the scoring for the night.
Before the game, Republic honored its nine seniors: Alexa Baker, Makenzie Chastain, Bella Drennan, Abbie Hicks, Anna Jones, Sierra Judy, Grace Lightfoot, Madi Mitchell, and Jessica Montenegro.
“This senior group is a special group. It’s my first four years here with the program, but I feel like they have really changed the culture to the soccer program and shown the underclassmen how to represent not just the soccer program, but our school,” said coach Kevin Hauck. “They’ve done a great job of that with their leadership since most of them have been freshmen. I think they will be remembered just because of how much they have put into this program and how much they’ve changed the culture for other girls to be able to come in and pick right up where they left off.”
Republic improved to 13-5, a remarkable record given the number of injuries and changes that have roiled the lineup since pre-season practices began. Hauck says that “culture” his seniors have established is a big reason for the continued winning record in the face of adversity.
“The girls work hard for each other. They love playing with each other. And if one girl goes down, another one has just been able to step right back up for them,” he said. “Some of our wins haven’t been pretty wins, but we’re finding ways to be able to battle it out and be in every game that we play and get the win in the end. And that’s all you can ask for.
“And these girls––they want to win, they want to play hard, they want to fight. And by golly, they’re doing a great job.”