Boys Varsity Soccer
|Joplin High School||2|
Tuesday night the Waynesville Tigers hosted their final Ozark Conference game against Joplin. The Joplin Eagles are set to leave the OC to join the Central Ozarks Conference next year. The Eagles got off to a fast start when they opened the scoring 6 minutes into the first half on a set piece into the box. Defensively there was some confusion marking up, which resulted in several Joplin players being left running unmarked as the ball was sent in and finished with an unchallenged header. The defense sorted themselves out quickly after that and began to deal with Joplin's speed of attack. They stayed organized on the back line catching Joplin consistently off sides, and with Isaac Swanson coming off his line quickly to deal with the through balls.
The first half tilted back and forth as each team sought to control the ball out of mid-field and quickly attack the opposing defenses. Joplin saw the greater amount of control off of 50/50 balls in the air, and were able to capitalize with 30 seconds left in the half by finishing a perfectly played through ball that split the center backs. Going into half down 2-0 is never in the game plan, but presents an opportunity to find out how the team would respond to the adversity.
After the half time adjustments the Tigers picked up their pace of play and took control of the midfield. The team consistently pushed the attack into Joplin's half of the field with strong play from David Havelin, Joey Cartwright, and Jeremiah Soria creating positive play in the offensive half. Defensively the team dealt with the counter attacks skillfully. Brandon Burkett, Ryan Wilburn, Gunnar Coonrod, and Alex Rodriguez settled in to a cohesive line that limited Joplin to chances from distance which Swanson handled with out trouble.
The Tigers finally broke through with a little over 2 minutes remaining on a ball headed on from David Havlin to Garrett Long who headed it over Joplin's charging keeper from 20 yards out. Garrett followed his shot into the net to ensure the ball made it across the line. With time coming to a close the Tigers created one final opportunity to tie the game as they connected passes down the left flank. The ball found Cameron Wilbur inside the 18 yard box all alone to the left of goal. He was able to take a touch and hit a solid strike on frame, but the Joplin keeper had the angle as he was quick to close down the space to make the save and ensure the Eagle victory. The Tigers showed quality character the second half as the game became more physical and as they never stopped working or believing that they could win the game. They look forward to getting back on the pitch against Willard at home Thursday night.
The JV team played their first full game of the year Tuesday night. Joplin held a 2-0 lead late into the second half as the boys battled the warm weather and the physical play. Kevin Cruz scored closing the gap with twelve minutes to play. Unfortunately the team faced a streak of injuries in the closing minutes that slowed the attacked and allowed Joplin to hold on to a 2-1 victory.