By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
For Logan-Rogersville, the end of basketball season coincided with the beginning of soccer season.
Tuesday showed that the Lady Wildcats are making strides in the sports transition, but still have room to improve.
Junior Sophia Nixon scored five times, setting a program record in the process, as Logan-Rogersville defeated visiting Mountain View-Birch Tree/Liberty, 7-3.
Nixon – along with other multi-sport athletes like Taylor Overstreet and Courtney Ince – helped the Lady Wildcats basketball team win its Class 4 third-place game on March 16.
Logan-Rogersville (4-5-1 overall) played its first soccer game three days later.
“That run put us at a setback a little bit (for soccer), so we’re still trying to catch up and work on our team work and positioning,” Nixon said.
Said Logan-Rogersville soccer coach Brett Wubbena:
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world because those (basketball) girls came in and there’s a no-die attitude in them. They will go for everything. I love the leadership they bring.
“It’s just been a slow going for us. We haven’t really been able to work on a lot of things as a team.”
By scoring her third goal of the match in the 20th minute, Nixon became Logan-Rogersville’s all-time leader in career hat tricks with seven.
“It means a lot,” Nixon said. “I couldn’t do it without the girls I’ve played with who have helped me get to this point.”
Nixon took quick advantage of a Liberty defense that was without starting goalkeeper Peyton Bush (knee injury) and playing a makeshift backline.
Nixon scored twice in the first 10 minutes. Despite being man-marked for much of the match, she had second-half goals in the 59th and 61st minutes that put Logan-Rogersville ahead for good, 7-2.
“Our defense, we’re still trying to figure out a formation that works for us,” said Liberty coach Shelly Renegar. “When you have a player like (Nixon) and you don’t talk about her, that’s what happens.”
The final score was a bit misleading.
At least three Eagles’ shots hit the post or crossbar. Liberty, a two-time defending district champion in Class 1, also had a goal waved off due to a foul and missed a penalty kick.
“It felt like it was a one-goal game,” Wubbena said.
Liberty’s all-time leading scorer, senior Amanda Mantel, had a pair of goals. The Eagles’ boot-and-go style toward Mantel caused issues for Logan-Rogersville’s defense.
“You should be able to stop it,” Wubbena said. “It gave us some good practice. You have to be able track runs. You have to defend her better. It shouldn’t work, but a lot of times at this level it does work. And that’s OK. It gives us something to work on.”
Liberty (6-4 overall) hosts West Plains on Thursday. Logan-Rogersville hosts Hillcrest the same day.
“We definitely learn from our losses. We watch a lot of film,” Renegar said. “(When we lose) I think that gives us more of an urgency to win our next game. I’d much rather lose now than closer to districts.”
Logan-Rogersville 7, Mountain View-Birch Tree/Liberty 3
Liberty 1 2 — 3
Logan-Rogersville 5 2 — 7
LR (7’) – Sophia Nixon (Lexie Vernon assist)
LR (10’) – Nixon
LR (20’) – Nixon
Liberty (24’) – Mantel (rebound off missed PK)
LR (34’) – Vernon
LR (35’) – Vernon
Liberty (47’) – Kennedy Cooley
LR (59’) – Nixon
LR (61’) – Nixon
Liberty (66’) – Mantel