The score wasn’t very indicative of how well the Neosho Lady Wildcats played on Thursday, but they got the win regardless, 1-0 over Webb City to kick off the Neosho Tournament at Lions Field.
For most of the first half and, heck, most of the game even, the Lady Wildcats were dominant. They forced Webb City on its heels and into a prevent defense for the majority of the contest. On any other night the score easily could have been 5-0.
To the Lady Cardinals’ credit, their prevent defense was good enough, however — for the most part.
After missing a few prime scoring opportunities — especially early in the second half — Neosho (3-5-1) finally broke through with 20:00 remaining in the game when Katelyn Hice was credited with the only goal of the game. The scoring play was, well, a bit confusing for all who witnessed it.
On one of many of the Lady Wildcats’ corner kicks in the game, Paige O’Neill lofted a high volley towards the goal and … cue the confusion.
As the ball fell from the sky it appeared to slightly graze the crossbar and landed in the midst of a host of bodies. Suddenly, or so it seemed, a pinball game broke out and the ball deflected off of someone — perhaps more than one? — and appeared to cross the goal line. But then it didn’t — maybe it did? — was deflected a second time — maybe a third? — and rolled into the goal for certain that time.
Get all that?
Once the dust settled, sophomore forward Katelyn Hice was awarded the goal — the only one of the game.
No doubt about it.
“We had a lot of good possessions and we’re working on that,” Wildcats coach Steve Schnackenberg said. “We’re working on keeping the ball at our feet, and tonight we really talked a lot about pressuring the goal. I think you saw that there in the second half. We gave ourselves a lot more chances there than we did in the first half.”
The biggest play of the first half was turned in by senior goalkeeper Matty Liedtke, who recorded a diving stop on one of Webb City’s three shots in the game to preserve the 0-0 tie at the half.
“They had some chances, but our defense came together and stopped some pretty good chances for them,” Schnackenberg said of the Lady Cardinals. “You’d think with all that possession we had in the first half that we’d be alright, but (Liedtke) made a big save for us, and good pressure from Emily (Reed) there on the back, too, to kind of rush that shot.”
Page 2 of 2 - Neosho finished with 14 shots on goal to Webb City’s three. Liedtke saved all three shots while pitching the shutout.
The Lady Wildcats are back in action today against Hillcrest at 1:30 p.m. at Lions Field.