A four-minute scoring burst made the difference for Republic, as the Lady Tigers beat Joplin 2-0 in the district semifinals in Springfield Tuesday. After a scoreless first half, Republic scored back-to-back goals just four minutes apart early in the second, then goalkeeper Bella Drennan and the defense made those goals hold up.
“I thought we were doing a really nice job in the first half of winning possession. I just felt like our intensity was a little bit low. [I was] wanting to bring the energy level up,” said coach Kevin Hauck.
The higher energy resulted in two quick goals to start the second half. Republic scored its first goal in the 44th minute when Anna Jones got free about 20 yards from the goal and slid a shot left to right past the advancing keeper, tucking it into the right side of the net.
Four minutes later, Jones assisted on the next goal, feeding Emma Pearce on a run up the right side of the field. Pearce put it away for a 2-0 lead.
“[In] the second half, we put Abbie (Hicks) on the left and Emma on the right. I saw…we could counter on the backside if we could win possession. Emma… scored her goal off being able to do that. Jones played a nice ball to her and she finished.”
Republic’s win puts them in the championship game against Springfield Central, the host team. Central beat Carthage 4-1 to advance to the final. Earlier this season, Republic won a game at Central on penalty kicks.
The district title game is Wednesday at 6:00.