By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The match had lasted long enough and Jalyn McClean felt tired.
She decided that no matter what, something was about to happen. Good or bad.
A collision (and possible red card) with Glendale freshman goalkeeper Taylor Thompson? Maybe.
A golden-goal header in the 99th minute of a grueling rivalry match for the conference title?
Fortunately, for McClean and Kickapoo, it was the latter.
The junior forward capped off a hat trick performance in thrilling fashion as she scored late in double overtime to give Kickapoo a 3-2 victory over Glendale on Wednesday night.
After McKenzie Salyers’ chip shot bounced over Glendale’s backline, McClean turned on the jets to win a 50-50 ball and convert.
Glendale defender Macie Stephens made a heroic effort to prevent the goal with a clearance attempt, but came up a split-second late.
“I saw the keeper one-on-one and I was like, ‘If I don’t get this ball, I’m just going to take the keeper out. I know her, but it’s for the game,’” McClean said. “I just went and headed the ball and it went over her hands.
“It (barely) went over the goal-line. I looked over at the side ref and she was sprinting off, so I just started celebrating.”
With the win, the Lady Chiefs (16-5-1 overall, 9-0 in league) claim the outright Ozark Conference regular season championship and the Southside Show trophy for the second straight season.
Kickapoo gets some much-needed rest before next week’s district tournament in Branson. The Lady Chiefs already had two road victories this week entering Wednesday night’s match: Monday at Camdenton (4-0) and Tuesday at Jefferson City (4-1).
“Typical Kickapoo-Glendale game,” said Kickapoo coach Phil Hodge. “For the girls to show the effort they did tonight in a big rivalry game, both teams 8-0 in the conference, it was tremendous.”
Glendale forced overtime on a goal from senior co-captain Emma Miller in the 80th minute. A deflection on Rike Sonntag’s crosser ended up at the feet of Miller, who quickly capitalized on an open net.
Talking to his team before overtime, Hodge noticed his players looked disappointed.
“I told them, ‘This is a playoff atmosphere. Next week, this could be exactly where we’re at,’” Hodge said. “In the regular season, you just learn from all these moments you’re given.”
The match had plenty of physical, aggressive play. Both team had players briefly leave the match with injuries. Most returned.
“You want your players to compete out there. All these kids play together in the offseason, so it’s fun,” said Glendale coach Jeff Rogers. “To me, it kind of had a postseason feel to it, which is what you want this time of year.”
Said McClean: “I’m so tired. (The match) was so long. So many good 50-50 balls and slide tackles by both teams.”
Kickapoo retook the lead in the 49th minute, 2-1, when McClean scored off a feed from Ellie Miller. McClean scored the first of her three goals in the 13th minute.
Miller finished with the brace. She tied the match, 1-1, in the 16th minute with a blast from about 20 yards out.
After the match, Glendale held a ceremony for Rogers – the only coach in program history. He reached 900 career wins in Glendale’s 2-1 home win over Camdenton on May 2.
Coincidentally, Rogers said he coached McClean’s mom at Glendale in the mid-1990s.
“That’s the special part for me: the relationships you get to build through the years with these kids and families,” Rogers said. “You get to live life with them – the ups and downs. I love it.”