The Neosho Lady Wildcats cooked at home, sweet home Lions Field with three straight wins Friday and Saturday against Springdale, Joplin and McDonald County, all shutouts, en route to a championship in the Gold pool.

The Neosho Lady Wildcats cooked at home, sweet home Lions Field with three straight wins Friday and Saturday against Springdale, Joplin and McDonald County, all shutouts, en route to a championship in the Gold pool.
The Lady Wildcats simply proved to be far more aggressive than all three opponents, taking 63 shots overall and 56 on goal during a 2-0 win over Springdale, a 6-0 win over Joplin and a 3-0 win over McDonald County.
Neosho improved to 8-5 on the season and returns to action Tuesday on the road against Ozark.
“A turnaround from the last tournament,” Neosho head coach Steve Schnackenberg said. “I think we played a lot better. I think we played together. We came in with a different focus than what we needed to do.
“Springdale, a good team, came up from Northwest Arkansas, beat them 2-0 and beat Joplin, got that 6-0 win back on them, so we tried to forget about that one last weekend. I thought Mac County, they sat back, played good defense and made us work for whatever we got. Good game for us.
“We have a big game on Tuesday. We go to Ozark. That will be a good COC team. They’re leading the COC right now, so we’ll go up there and try and take all the things we’ve learned the last couple days and see if that makes a difference. Made a little formation change and just some personnel changes. Seems like we’re connecting a little better and making some more passes. Moving the ball better.”
Just last week, Neosho lost three straight games in the Ozark Tournament, including a loss to Joplin, a team the Lady Wildcats have now defeated 6-0 twice at Lions Field.
Ashley Talley enjoyed a strong tournament, with five goals, one assist and 11 total points. She had two goals in the wins over Springdale and McDonald County.
Alicia Cooper, Neosho’s seasonal leading goal scorer, netted four goals against Joplin and scored a goal against McDonald County. She had 10 points.
MaKayla Hayes was not exactly the busiest goalkeeper in the world this weekend, as none of Neosho’s three opponents managed any shots on goal.

McDonald County sees steady improvement
Like the boys in the fall, the McDonald County Lady Mustangs are a first-year soccer program under head coach James Carter, a former Neosho High and Crowder College player.
Carter thought his team played a great game in a 3-0 loss to the Lady Wildcats, especially in a scoreless second half. Sophomore goalie Courtnie Eberley, unlike Hayes on the other end, was almost ceaselessly busy, finishing with 19 saves and an 88 percent save percentage.
“They always play hard,” he said. “To keep Neosho scoreless for a half is really hard to do. That’s what I told them after the game. Obviously, they played today and we played today. Both teams played last night. We played the night before that. We played a double overtime Thursday night and we played Tuesday. It’s been a long week. The girls have improved a lot and that half was a statement.”
Thursday night was a historic one for the Lady Mustangs against Monett.
“Got our first win,” Carter said, “which is great. The girls had a lot of fun. They played really hard and we’ve progressed a lot from the beginning of the year. We’ll see more improvement, but first win in the program and to do it the way they did it in (penalty kicks), they never had penalty kicks before, so it was a lot of fun.”
The Lady Mustangs have just one senior on their inaugural roster, Vanessa Montoya, and feature seven juniors, six sophomores and eight freshmen, all of course new to high school soccer. The Lady Mustangs have no home field, with it being flooded out during the offseason.
“There’s been a lot of improvement,” Carter said. “We’ve focused on the process and getting better every day and every game. The girls buy into that, show up to practice and work hard. They’re super coachable, so you couldn’t ask for more.”

McDonald County at a glance
ROSTER
1/2    Leslie Estrada
3    Isamar Lazalde
4    Karen Gasca
6    Naomi Rubio
7    Andrea Valdez
8    Isabel Estrada
9    Alexia Kitlen
10    Helen Reyes
11    Raye Pearcy
12    Whitney Alvarado
13    Accember Clark
14    Katherine Sparnicht
15    Karla Barreda
16    Karen Ramirez
17    Mabely Teodocio
18    Kali McClain
19    Patty Hernandez
22    Bekah Hitt
23    Baylee Payne
25/1    Esmeralda Ramirez
40    Courtnie Eberley
44    Vanessa Montoya
Head coach: James Carter
Assistant: Brandon Martin

SCHEDULE
March 24 — vs. New Covenant Academy
March 28 — vs. Rogers Heritage
March 31 — at Carthage
April 7 — at Webb City
April 12 — at Aurora
April 14 — vs. Monett
April 15-16 — Neosho Tournament
April 21 — at Springfield Catholic
April 26 — vs. Carl Junction
April 28 — at New Covenant Academy
May 2 — vs. Neosho
May 5 — at Monett