Neosho soccer season ends in overtime

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

The Neosho girl’s soccer team (8-14) saw their season ended on May 17, when they hosted Carl Junction (14-10) in a Class 3 District 12 semifinal and fell 2-1 in extra time.

“Most of my girls played a full 80 minutes tonight,” said Neosho head coach Steve Schnakenberg. “They stepped up so big, this is probably the best they’ve played all season and that’s what you want to do.”

“Halftime was the biggest adjustment for us,” added Schnakenberg. “The way they were marking us in the back, we tried to bring more people forward and change it up, it worked pretty well. They made a good adjustment later in the half, but I felt like that was where (our push) came from, halftime.”

Neosho senior forward Avery Renfro cuts upfield against Carl Junction.

Neosho had a few decent looks to start the game and had a little bit of possession, but Carl Junction would dominate that as the half went on, winning the battle in the midfield and finding their wings making runs out wide.

Despite Carl Junction winning the possession battle early, Neosho had better quality and quantity when it came to scoring chances. In the first five minutes, junior midfielder Breanna Alvarado played a nice ball down the line for junior forward Erika Ornelas. Ornelas ran onto it before it reached the end line and got a touch on it to put it on frame, but it was saved.

Soon after, Neosho earned the first corner kick of the game and had a nice cross into the box, but it ended in a handball.

Carl Junction would begin to get more looks as time continued, whether it was lofted shots near the 18-yard box or low crosses into the box that weren’t able to be finished and the Neosho defense continued to stand tall while dealing with the speed of Carl Junction.

Halfway through the first half, Carl Junction’s closest attempt came on a nice shot outside the box that glanced off the crossbar. Neosho had a couple of counter attacks shortly after that, but no quality looks while senior goalkeeper Shelby Roberts continued to keep shots out of the back of the net that were hit at her.

With just over five minutes to go in the first half, a dangerous play inside the box gave Carl Junction an indirect free kick that was again turned away by Roberts, but shortly after, Carl Junction took a 1-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first half on a corner kick that was deflected in by a Neosho defender.

Carl Junction would miss another shot just wide of then et on a switch that got through the Neosho defense and Alvarado had a free kick from 35-yards out with just under a minute that was saved by Carl Junction to keep the score 1-0 heading into halftime.

"We didn’t have to get wide on them, we played more defense in middle of the field,” said Schnakenberg on halftime discussions besides getting more players forward. “In the first half they were playing three center midfielders to our two and they were really dominating there. I think in the second half we came out and just took over the center midfield and that helped possession.”

With the added forward and help in the midfield, Neosho started the second half similar to the first, good possession early but no quality chances this time. Carl Junction won the possession battle again in the second half, but Neosho was able to create by going more offensive with their formation shift at the half.

With 26:02 on the scoreboard, Alvarado would tie the game on a Neosho counter.

Alvarado brought it down the field and looked to get a shot off going to her left but it was deflected yet she stuck with it as she cut back to her right tracking the ball and volleyed it with her opposite foot to lift it over the goalkeeper and into the back left corner to tie the game at 1-1.

“It’s almost like she decided, ‘I’m going to take this one and go score,’” said Schnakenberg on Alvarado’s goal. “That’s what she did, she has that ability. I think that was just determination. We showed that all over the field (tonight) but that where that goal came from. She was completely out of position in the second half and played great up there.”

A couple minutes later, Alvarado got another shot off breaking down the left flank, but it was saved in the box.

With five minutes to go, Carl Junction got a cross into the box, but the shot went wide left and Roberts saved it for good measure. Another late run with around two minutes to go right down the heart of the Neosho defense was turned away to send the game to overtime.

1:13 seconds into overtime, Carl Junction would score from inside the box to take the game, 2-1, and end Neosho’s season.

“When you give everything, you’ve got and play as well as they played (tonight) you can’t put your head down on that loss,” said Schnakenberg on what he told the team after the game. “Two tough goals we gave up. I think the rest of the game we played great.”

“(I’ll remember) the way they’d get at each other and come out of it better,” added Schnakenberg on what he’ll remember about this group. “I think you saw that tonight, because they were at each other early on and they came out of it better. I think that was the definition of the season.”