While the Lady Eagles were the favorite, coming in at 14-3 and playing against a 7-5-1 Catholic, Nixa weren’t able to take advantage of their opportunities to score.
“Catholic’s got a nice team,” said Nixa head coach Evan Palmer. “They just fought and got in the way and made it tough on us to score. We just didn’t have it tonight, but I’ve got to give it to them – they made it tough tonight.”
Even though the first half ended without any goals, it was all Nixa Lady Eagles. Their speed made it hard for Catholic to keep them from pushing the ball on offense.
As most teams do against Nixa, Catholic stuffed the box and was able to deflect shots but Lady Irish goalie Marcy Wichmer also made several key blocks to keep the game scoreless in the first half.
The second half started much like the first, until finally in the 53rd minute Nixa freshman Shelby Ewing took a ball that ricocheted off Catholic’s Jordan Gamble and kicked in the first goal of the game from 15 yards out.
But Nixa’s frustration began to show, getting two off-sides calls on possible fast breaks and two yellow cards in the second half. The last offside’s call lead to the tying goal by Catholic, when, after a free kick, junior Lydia Holtmann put in a loose ball with just 4 minutes to go in the game.
The Lady Eagles’ defense had been superior up until that mental breakdown, as it was Catholic’s first shot on goal the entire game that Nixa goalie Josie Gregory had to make a play on.
But just as they did the entire game, the Lady Eagles came back down on offense and began to put pressure on Catholic.
Finally, with 48 seconds to go in the game, senior Jordyn Hoskins lobbed in the winning goal just over the top of the outstretched arms of Wichmer.
After the game, Catholic head coach Ben Timson walked out on the field and hugged his girls.
“I was really happy with the way we competed, especially in the second half,” he explained. “We’ve been kind of up and down this year and to come out against a team like this and battle for 80 minutes – and to get that tying goal – I was just really pleased with the way we battled.”
The Lady Eagles, who moved to 15-3 on the season, will travel to Webb City Tuesday.
Catholic (7-6-1) won’t get much of a breather either as they travel to Bolivar for a matchup Tuesday.
Nixa 2, Catholic 1
Nixa 0-2 --- 2
Catholic 0-1 --- 1
Shelby Ewing, Nixa
Lydia Holtmann, Catholic
Brittany Kirkpatrick, Nixa