Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Kickapoo and Joplin are two of the elite soccer schools in Southwest Missouri. In each of the last two meetings, Joplin has won the game; including the Eagles' win Tuesday night at Kickapoo 2-1 in double overtime.
It took just 36 seconds into the overtime for the Eagles to put home the game-winning goal. Senior Joe Rice received a ball from fellow senior Garrett Ward on a run down the left sideline. Rice then made a move to the inside at the top of the box before sending a strike past the outstretched arms of the goalie and into the back of the net.
Kickapoo however was the team that got off to the early lead. Senior Josh McCutcheon made a move left inside the box and struck the ball with his left foot past the Joplin goalkeeper in the 17th minute. In the first half, Kickapoo was the more dominant team. The Chiefs possessed the ball the majority of the time, strung together lengthy, long drives, and were communicating together much better than the Eagles.
“We had some confusion in the back and they came out in some formations we weren’t ready for,” Joplin head soccer coach Ed Miller said. “We came out a little flat and had to figure out things for the second half.”
Neither team scored in the remaining time of the first half. The second half was a different story from the first. Joplin came out firing on offense, and being much more aggressive on defense.
Joplin got on the scoreboard in the 43rd minute on what was called an own goal by the referee. A Joplin player threw the ball in from out of bounds towards the goal, looking for an open teammate. However, no Eagle could get to the ball. The throw was so long though, that it also got past a mass of Kickapoo defenders and the goalie into the net. That goal was exactly what Joplin needed, because up to that point in the game the Chief’s defense was proving superior to their offense.
“We switched up our formations to match theirs and our defense some help,” Miller said. “I told them though after the goal just to keep on the pressure.”
Kickapoo had opportunities after that goal to put more points on the board. Just minutes after the own goal, the Chiefs had two chances to score. Missed plays though by Kickapoo left the game tied 1-1 at the end of regulation.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, leaving the game to be decided in the second overtime. The Chiefs had chances in the first overtime to score, but Joplin’s junior goalie Brock Renken made some spectacular saves to keep the game tied.
Rice then made the game-winning goal just seconds into the second half to secure the win and improve the team’s record to 13-1-1. Joplin now has a day to prepare before they open their tournament on Thursday, while Kickapoo has a quick turnaround with Glendale Wednesday.