(File photo by David Brazeal) Brooklyn Claxton and the rest of Republic’s defense played one of their best games of the season at Ozark.

Republic’s Resilience Rewarded with Late Winner at Ozark

Republic’s defense held strong against unrelenting pressure from Ozark, leading to a 1-0 victory in the team’s final regular-season game.

Goalkeeper Awbree Berning and the Republic back line kept Ozark off the scoreboard, despite numerous scoring chances for Ozark throughout the match. “Yes it definitely felt like that, we just didn’t feel completely connected tonight and so it was overwhelming at times on defense,” senior defender Brooklyn Claxton said of the constant pressure from Ozark.

Claxton credited communication and teamwork for helping the defense weather the storm. “We just do our best when we’re under attack like that to slow the game down, pass to each other, and try and gain control back. Tonight it was difficult, but we had good moments,” she said.

With just over a minute left to play, Kaylee Cornelsen broke the deadlock with a booming shot from 35 yards out, securing the win for Republic. Cornelsen’s late winner completely changed the mood for Republic. “Seeing everyone’s demeanor change and get so excited as we came together to celebrate was really special,” Claxton said.

The victory marked Republic’s 11th shutout of the season, one shy of the team record set in 2015. Republic finishes the year with a 16-6 record and an 8-1 mark in the Central Ozark Conference, the best COC finish in school history. The Lady Tigers’ .727 regular-season winning percentage is the best since the 2015 team finished 17-5 in the regular season.

Republic and Ozark will turn around and play again Saturday at Republic during the opening round of the district tournament.


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