“This [win] shows us where we need to go from here,” said Kickapoo head coach Phil Hodge. “We got in trouble…connecting with our final third late in the first half, but we did settle down…and had those two set piece goals.”
Kickapoo took some serious shots from the field in the first half but did not manage to connect any with the back of the net until Miriam Melugin stepped up for a corner kick in the 13th minute.
Melugin sent the ball inbound where it deflected off Republic’s keeper allowing Brianna Hilton to poke it into the goal.
“Any time you can take advantage of a corner, you know, that’s what we work on all the time, and when they finally kind of pay off its nice,” said Hodge.
Republic gave up another corner kick in the 19th minute much to the same effect. Melugin took the corner again and skillfully placed the ball in the goal box. Hannah Sweaney stepped up to finish for the Chief’s second point.
“We have several girls who are really good in the air and I usually try to play it to them,” said Melugin. “Our outside mid, Hannah Sweaney, just happened to run in and it was just a perfect follow through.”
Republic started the second half down 2-0, but came out with more confidence. Kickapoo tried right from the whistle to put another one in the Tigers' goal, but Republic’s defenders, Lesleigh Fenton and Haley Willis, managed to thwart the Lady Chiefs' first attempts.
“We want to have every player, no matter what position they play, to move the ball quickly,” said Republic head coach Mike Hines. “We tend to hold onto the ball a little bit, that results in contact, and we saw that tonight.”
Sara Marcotte brought some of the speed her coach wanted. She made a serious attempt on Kickapoo’s goal in the 52nd minute that forced the Chief’s keeper Molly Wassam to make a diving save.
Despite a stronger second half for Republic, Kickapoo did not let up. In the 61st minute, the Chief’s Kenzie Dunaway settled a loose ball to score unassisted from inside the 18.
Looking to put Republic on the scoreboard, Marcotte made a final run in the 72nd minute. She dribbled into Kickapoo’s 18 from the half line, forcing Wassam to challenge. Marcotte then played the ball to Samantha Minor who tried to drive the ball in behind Wassam, but the shot went just wide.
Kickapoo, now 1-0, host Springfield Central on Saturday morning at 10.
Meanwhile, the Republic girls will look for their first win at Rolla on March 19 at 4:30.
Kickapoo 3, Republic 0
Kickapoo—Brianna Hilton, assisted by Miriam Melugin
Kickapoo—Hannah Sweaney, assisted by Miriam Melugin
Kickapoo—Kenzie Dunaway, unassisted