Willard, MO (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The championship series between Rogersville and Willard consisted of impressive defense on both sides, but the Wildcats couldn’t hold off the Tigers as they take home the gold in a 1-0 win, not allowing a single goal the entire tournament.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
“I think we are starting to play much better. We were very inexperienced as the season started, we’re improving much more as the season goes on, and this tournament was a part of that,” Coach Tim Magee said. “We basically tried to out survive other teams, knowing if we could get to the championship game, it’s would be a slugfest. Both teams are exhausted and it’s going to come down to one team making the mistake.”
During the first half of play, Willard’s offensive press on the Wildcat’s defense was dominant but they couldn’t find an opportunity to slip one by Rogersville’s goal keeper Derek Louderbaugh.
After the scoreless half, the Tigers came out with ambition to grab the first lead of the game. Corner kick from senior captain Kurt Hamilton found its way to the back of the net through Rogersville’s strong defensive protection. Willard was on top 1-0 early in the second half, but the Wildcat’s aggressive spread threatened Tiger territory majority of the last 15 minutes of regulation. Rogersville though couldn’t find an opening, and Willard claimed the championship of the Willard Classic.
“I’m just super excited, the boys gave it all they got tonight and I’m glad I could put the goal in my senior year. I was just trying to get over that kid’s head; I knew I could beat him. When I kicked the ball and saw it go in, it was just one of the best moments ever,” Kurt Hamilton said. “It feels great to be a senior leader, I’m glad the guys respect me and I was able to score for us. In the end we got the effect we wanted and the win we needed.”
Willard was able to overcome Hillcrest in the first round of bracket play, and defeated Springfield Central in the semifinals.
“Kurt Hamilton came through scoring our only goal in the championship game. I expect senior leadership out of him and the rest of our senior captains. We are starting to see that leadership, as they all take on that role,” said Magee. “I just enjoy the fact I get to come out here and work with young men who are willing to listen and work hard. We’re just starting to play better as a team.”
Willard takes on conference rival Nixa Tuesday Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. Rogersville faces off against Springfield Catholic Tuesday Oct. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
Springfield Central shuts out New Covenant for Third
After losing 2-0 early Saturday morning to Willard, Central gathered themselves together and took it to the Warriors with an 8-0 final.
“I think we did alright, we started out at 8:30 in the morning so we’re not really a morning team. We didn’t show up to play until middle of the second half, which is a little too late against Willard,” Coach Chris Welch said. “We had a break between games, and New Covenant played back to back. I believe that had an effect on the level of play, and we started to put things together.”
The Bulldogs grabbed a big 3-0 lead at half, and continued their momentum into the second half of regulation.
New Covenant struggled with Central’s powerful offense, as they dominated the ball on the Warriors’ side of the field. The Bulldogs’ passing play was extremely effective as they claimed five more goals before the final whistle was blown.
“We continue to work on simple soccer, basic passing and talking to each other. Crossing and finishing on the back post,” Welch said. “I like the kids here at Central. It’s my twelfth year, and I just love being with the diversity we have. We have players from Burma, to our IB kids. It gives us a unique opportunity to all play together.”
Central is back in action in Monett Monday Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m.