SoBoCo hosts Catholic on Saturday
The Southern Boone Eagles got a pair of goals from Kate Ponder and tough midfield play that kept Osage threatening in the second half and won the Class 3, District 9 soccer title on Wednesday evening in Ashland.
The victory marked the first district title for the girls’ team since 2012. The Eagles 23-1-1 will face second-ranked Springfield Catholic on Saturday in Ashland. Game time will be determined today.
The Eagles had numerous chances and a strong wind at their backs in the first half, but Ponder hit the crossbar and the Osage goalie inadvertently stepped inside the goal with the ball – but a score was not called. Ponder broke the ice with four minutes left in the half, gathering the ball just inside the penalty box, turning and getting off a shot that went just inside the far post.
“I just created a little separation by side-stepping my defender,” Ponder said. Her quick shot gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead with little time left in the half.
However, the Indians missed a critical scoring chance when their offense ran past the Eagles defenders on the far side. Eagles goalie Katy Andrews came out to the 15-yard line, but the Indians pushed the ball passed her – but their shot was just wide of the goal.
“The first goal is always huge in a playoff game,” Miller said afterwards. “We had the wind and plenty of opportunities, we needed to come say with something.”
The Eagles midfield and defense dominated the second half.
While the Indians only got off four shots the entire game, SoBoCo defenders Riley Scheer and Lauren Gateley – in the center – and Skyler Beeson and Savana Johnson on the outside, pushed forward aggressively and forced Osage to attempt to penetrate a defensive wall they could not get past.
Midfielders Kylie Shoot, Callie Barnett and Sara Johnson won nearly every 50-50 ball and returned punts from the Osage goalie to the Eagles’ offensive end, where they peppered the Osage goal with 16 shots and had nearly two dozen corner kicks.
Ponder added the final goal with five minutes left in the game, using nearly the same move the allowed her to be open in the first half. Ponder shoved off her defender, gathered the ball in the open and fired a quick shot that got just past the Indians’ hand to the far post for the 2-0 win.
The Eagles will now host Springfield Catholic on Saturday – one of the top soccer programs in the state which has had the Eagles’ number in past years.
“They have handed us our rear a few times in girls and boys playoff games,” Miller agreed. “But they have never had to come here to play.”
Miller encouraged his team to enjoy their district win, but also challenged his players to think about Saturday’s game.
“This is why our (game-day) shirts have been green all year,” Miller told his team before they greeted family and friends. “The green is coming and they are very good. It is the chance for us to do something big.”