The Neosho Wildcats opened their season with a 3-1 defeat Monday night at the hands (rather feet) of their rival Joplin, a future Central Ozark Conference Large opponent, at Lions Field. Joplin also won the opening JV match 3-1.

The Neosho Wildcats opened their season with a 3-1 defeat Monday night at the hands (rather feet) of their rival Joplin, a future Central Ozark Conference Large opponent, at Lions Field. Joplin also won the opening JV match 3-1.
Neosho scored its lone goal on a Hunter Gilliam free kick in the first half, but the Wildcats took plenty of chances against the Eagles and their goalkeeper, senior Garrett Nimmo, just coming up short a few times on changing the scoreboard.
Joplin's Andrew Romero opened the scoring with a quick goal, Gilliam's free kick earned a tie score, and Ethan Merino's boot put the Eagles ahead 2-1 at intermission. The Wildcats were a little sloppy with the ball in their own end and the Eagles made the Wildcats pay twice.
Early in the second half, Jonathan Loden's header closed out the scoring.
Despite the best efforts of Neosho attackers Yahir Ruiz, Gilliam, Matias Ruiz, Bryan Perez, Cesar Piediasanta, and Angel Alvarado, they could not get their headers, bicycle kicks, and other valiant efforts in the nets. The Wildcats finished with 15 shots overall and 10 on goal, the latter number matched by the Eagles.
Joplin barely missed twice on taking a 4-1 lead, as Romero's kick hit off the top post and then Sam Stovern's header rebound attempt sailed just over the goal.
Hank Selig made seven saves in goal for the Wildcats.
Joplin improved to 3-1 on the season with the win, while Neosho took a 0-1 mark into Tuesday's COC Large opener against Carthage, who entered the day 2-1.
The Wildcats do not return home until September 19 against Branson and hopefully, by that time, their new home field near the high school softball field will be completed and the Wildcats played possibly their final match Monday at Lions Field.
In the meantime, Neosho will have played, weather permitting, four COC Large opponents before hosting the Pirates.