For the second night in a row, a Republic goal sent everyone home. Wednesday night, it was Kendra Phiri who booted the ball into the corner of the net to deliver a 2-1 sudden-death win in the second overtime period against Joplin.
Phiri’s goal came on a nearly perfect corner kick from Molly Blades, who lofted the ball into the box in front of the net, delivering it just about head-high. Phiri’s first attempt to head the ball into the goal missed, but she corralled the loose ball and kicked it in, ending the game.
Republic had broken a scoreless tie in the second half on a corner kick by Phiri. Cadence Lugar fought through multiple defenders to reach the ball and poke is across the goal line, making it 1-0. But Joplin’s Ella Hafer answered about ten minutes later when she beat the Republic defense and shot the ball from right to left into the corner of the net to tie the score.
Republic had several changes to end the game in regulation. A shot by Cornelsen was a near-miss with about five minutes remaining. Phiri nearly connected on a through ball to Molly Blades with 4:30 remaining, but it was about a step too far ahead. Lugar got off a shot that was a little high and wide right with four minutes remaining, and Blades had another shot with about a minute left in the half.
Both teams failed to score in the first overtime, but Republic controlled possession throughout most of the 10-minute period. And about four minutes into the second overtime, Phiri knocked in the game-winner.
“It was a really beautiful ball from Molly. I tried to head it and I missed it, and it kind of came back to me. I hit it the first time and it didn’t go in, so I just hit it as hard as I could, and it just hit the corner,” Phiri said.
Wednesday’s win follows an overtime win on penalty kicks against Willard Tuesday. It’s the first time this season Republic has won back-to-back games. The Lady Tigers are 6-11. They host Nixa next Tuesday.