Molly Blades, one of nine Republic seniors, leaves the field after Republic’s loss to Nixa. (Photo by David Brazeal)

Republic’s Soccer Resurgence Ends in District Semifinal

Adison Gibbs stunned Nixa with a goal 12 seconds into the district semifinal, but the Lady Eagles rallied to defeat Republic 4-1, ending the Lady Tigers’ turnaround season one win shy of the best mark in school history.

Gibbs’ lightning-fast goal, which came on Republic’s first attack of the game, is tied for the 7th-fastest goal in Missouri history and may be the fastest ever scored in a playoff match.

However, Nixa, which has only one loss all year, controlled the game from that point on. The Lady Eagles equalized with 29:36 left in the first half and took the lead less than 12 minutes later.

In the second half, Nixa extended its lead to 3-1 less than a minute after the restart and added a fourth goal with 31:32 remaining.

Republic goalkeeper Awbree Berning made 16 saves on the night, facing constant pressure from the Lady Eagles, who had eight corner kicks to Republic’s zero.

The loss ended a special season for Republic, which finished with a 17-7 record, matching the second-best win total in school history. The Lady Tigers also recorded 11 shutouts, one shy of the program record. Their 17 wins in 2024 also equal the combined total of the previous two seasons.

“We had challenged them at the beginning of the year to set the standard. That’s exactly what they’ve done,” Republic coach Jesus Zuniga said of his team, particularly the nine seniors who played their final game. “It’s a very high bar, but now we know that’s what Republic soccer is fully capable of doing.”

Zuniga added, “We would not have wanted to do it with any other group besides that group of seniors. They poured in. I remember walking in on the first day, meeting them at the auditorium, and there was excitement, the same buzz and energy coming into this season. It’s a very special group of girls.”

The graduating seniors are Callie Jaquess, Molly Blades, Liberty Redmon, Briley Place, Kendra Phiri, Brooklyn Claxton, Ava Brown, Cam Burton, and Alivia Coleman.


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