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GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin doubles team repeats as COC champions


Seconds after the game-winning point was secured, and after a couple of celebratory screams, Astrid Cardenas and Emma Watts shared a long embrace on the court. 

For the pair of Joplin Eagles, it was a moment worth celebrating. 

Joplin’s Cardenas and Watts repeated as Central Ozark Conference champions at No. 1 doubles on Wednesday at the JHS courts. 

“It feels awesome to repeat,” Cardenas said. “This is my last year and it’s been so much fun. And I’m really proud of us. We’ve been playing really well. We keep each other lifted all the time. We always stay positive on the court.”

Cardenas, a senior, and Watts, a junior, went 3-0 on the day to capture a second straight COC crown in the top doubles bracket.

Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas hits a volley at the net during the championship match of the No. 1 doubles bracket on Wednesday afternoon at JHS. Photos by Jason Peake.

The JHS tandem not only repeated as conference champs, but also remained undefeated this fall.

Cardenas and Watts are now 23-0 in doubles matches. 

“We feel great and I’m glad we got to do it together,” Watts said. “We came back really strong this year, especially after I came back from my back injury. Our goal now is to medal at state.” 

Cardenas and Watts defeated Webb City’s Shelby Ensminger and Brynlee Hollingsworth 8-0 in the quarterfinals and then defeated Nixa’s Arabella Cosgrove and Abigail Fulnecky 8-1 in the semifinals. 

In the bracket’s championship match, the Eagles defeated Republic’s Abigail McCord and Morgan Lewis 8-3.

Emma Watts hits a forehand winner during No. 1 doubles play on Wednesday at Joplin High School. Watts and Astrid Cardenas repeated as COC champs at No. 1 doubles.

“We’re really happy for them to be conference champions again and we’re just really proud of them,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “They’re healthy right now, they work really well together, they’ve gotten better and I know they’re looking forward to the postseason.”

“We had a good showing from Astrid and Emma today,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “They had some rematches today, which can be really tough when you won previously because there is the expectation for you to win again. We saw that today with our other girls who had a tough day, losing to previous opponents that they beat. Astrid and Emma were able to overcome that pressure, as they have all year, to take away another gold medal for their collections. They out-performed their previous matches by winning by even bigger margins than they did the first time. They are on a hot streak and can go into districts on Friday feeling really good. Our goal now is to take all of the experience they’ve gained this year and to be able to handle any situation their opponents could throw their way.”

In the third-place match of the No. 1 doubles bracket, Nixa’s Cosgrove and Fulnecky edged Carthage’s Kianna Yates and Daniela Marquez 8-6.

For fifth-place, Carl Junction’s duo of Jenna Besperat and Nicole Sherwood beat Branson’s Chase Carlin and Sylvie Barbour 6-1.

Webb City’s Ensmiger and Hollingsworth went 2-2, beating Ozark and Neosho and falling to Joplin and Carl Junction. 

Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez and Alexandra Olsbo went 0-2, with losses to Willard and Webb City. 



Carl Junction’s Naiyah Wurdeman and Emmy Higgins took third place at No. 2 doubles, beating Ozark’s Margaret Kensinger and Madison Morgan 9-7.

In the fifth-place match, Joplin’s Cloey Blank and Brynn Driver defeated Branson’s Brooklyn Buxton and Avery Webber 6-0.

Webb City’s Ally Ansley and Walker Hoffman went 2-2, beating Carthage and Neosho and falling to Republic and Joplin. 

Carthage’s Anayansi Lopez and Beverly Garcia and Neosho’s Georgia Housh and Keely Keeton went 0-2. 

Republic defeated Willard 8-1 in the bracket’s title match. 



Pictured is Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood.

Webb City’s Kirsalyn Hood was the top local finisher at No. 1 singles. Hood won the fifth-place match by beating Ozark’s Hannah Metcalf 6-4.

Hood lost to Branson’s Andrea Fuentes 8-4 in the quarterfinals and earned wins over Carthage’s Katie Barton and Joplin’s Abry Stayton, both by scores of 6-4. 

Joplin’s Stayton suffered a pair of close losses. Willard’s Alice Go edged Stayton 8-6 in the quarterfinals before Webb City’s Hood got past Stayton 6-4. 

Carl Junction’s Valeria Alamina-Poor went 2-2, while Carthage’s Barton and Neosho’s Sydnee Minton both went 0-2. 

Republic’s Elsie Crawford defeated Willard’s Go 8-1 in the championship match, while Branson’s Fuentes beat Nixa’s Ellie Sorgenfrei 8-3 for third place. 




Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith defeated Carl Junction’s Alyssa Graves 6-2 in the fifth-place match at No. 2 singles. 

Joplin’s Mya Ndedi-Ntepe, Neosho’s Lauren Nageotte and Carthage’s Lynnd Guerra all went 0-2. 

Republic’s Jasmine Howard won the No. 2 singles bracket by beating Branson’s Madelyn Volz 8-3.

For third, Nixa’s Samantha Fulnecky defeated Willard’s Gracie Chunn 8-4. 


NOTE: Republic won the COC team championship by going 9-0 in conference duals during the regular season.



Local squads will compete at individual district tournaments on Friday. 


Joplin’s Abry Stayton lines up a backhand during No. 1 singles play on Wednesday at the COC Tournament.


Pictured is Webb City’s Kinzlea Smith. Smith took fifth at No. 2 singles.


Joplin’s Emma Watts and Astrid Cardenas celebrate a point during the championship match of the No. 1 doubles bracket on Wednesday.


Carl Junction’s Alyssa Graves serves during Wednesday’s COC Tournament at Joplin High School.


BOYS SWIMMING: Carthage wins Springfield invite


By winning nine of 11 events, the Carthage High School boys swim team captured the championship at the Springfield Invitational on Tuesday.

The Tigers finished with 404 points, while Marshfield was a distant second with 259. Hillcrest (106), Parkview (26) and Seymour (25) also competed.

Carthage won two of three relays.

The team of Kellen Frieling, Braxton McBride, Will Wallace and Ezekiel Ramirez won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:59. The Tigers were also second in the medley relay in 2:16, with Noah Blackford, Ryan Steinbach, Trey Nye and Aydan Nye competing.

The Tigers won the 400 freestyle relay in 4:03, with Ramirez, Frieling, Wallace and McBride competing.

Carthage was second in the 200 freestyle relay in 2:02, with Landon White, Aydan Nye, Daryl Martin and Steinbach swimming. Marshfield took first in 1:47. 

Braxton McBride and Will Wallace won two events apiece for the Tigers. 

McBride took first in the 200 IM (2:30) and the 100 breaststroke (1:14), while Wallace was the champion in the 500 freestyle (6:11) and the 200 free (2:07). 

Other individual event winners for Carthage were Ramirez (50 free), Frieling (100 free) and Noah Blackford (100 backstroke).

Second-place finishers were White (100 butterfly) and Ramirez (500 free). Finishing third in their events were White (200 free) and Frieling (500 free). 

Taking fourth were Steinbach (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Nye (100 fly) and Caleb Waynick (100 free).

Fifth-place finishers were Nye (200 free), Declan O’Brien (200 IM), Blackford (100 fly), Angel Guzman (100 free), Daryl Martin (100 backstroke) and Ben Rogers (100 breaststroke). 

The Tigers will be among the teams competing at the Webb City Invitational on Oct. 9. 

PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Carl Junction girls win Lamar invite; CJ’s Emmert second in boys race


LAMAR, Mo. — With five runners in the top 15, Carl Junction’s girls captured the team championship at the Lamar Invitational on Tuesday.

Carl Junction finished with a team score of 43, while El Dorado Springs was second with 48 and Nevada was third with 96.

St. Michael the Archangel’s Elsa Henry was the individual champion with a time of 20:03 and Lamar’s Kiersten Potter took second in 20:17. 

Carl Junction’s Ally Montez finished third in 20:43, while El Dorado Springs’ Hannah Klaiber was fourth and Cassville’s Jolie Evans took fifth.

Also for Carl Junction, Hannah Franks finished seventh, Alexis Carpenter was 10th, Sadie Burchett took 13th, Riley Briggs placed 15th and Delaney Harris was 23rd. 

Nevada’s Allie Rains and Avery Morris were 11th and 12th, while Cassville’s Annie Moore was 14th. 

Lamar’s Mikayla Madison was 17th and Jasper’s Olivia Moss took 19th. McDonald County’s Clara Horton finished 27th and Monett’s Sadie Camp was 29th. 

College Heights Christian’s Jayli Johnson finished 32nd, while Thomas Jefferson’s Sarah Mueller was 35th and teammate Macie Shifferd finished 41st.

Also for College Heights, Sophia Moore was 50th, Madi Carson took 65th and Stellar Moore was 83rd.

In the boys race, El Dorado Springs standout Daelen Ackley took first in 15:58. Carl Junction’s Collin Emmert was second with a time of 16:28, while Monett’s Julio Cruz finished third in 16:44. 

Thomas Jefferson’s Kip Atteberry finished seventh in 17:17, while Southwest’s Christian Long was ninth and his teammate Caden Uthe was 13th.

Carl Junction’s Jack Lawson placed 15th, while Purdy’s Bryce Ozbun was 20th. Monett’s Victor Salas, Lamar’s Cameron Bailey and Cassville’s Caleb Leach were 22nd, 23rd and 24th, respectively. 

College Heights Christian’s Derrick McMillan finished 37th, with teammates Rolen Sanderson and Caleb Quade finishing 46th and 47th, respectively. 

Carl Junction’s Luke Battagler was 53rd and teammate Kellen Badgley was 60th. CHC’s Steven Calandro was 66th and Jace Edwards took 76th. 

McAuley’s top finishers were Phillip Motazedi (82nd) and Armando Alberto (86th). 

The top three teams were Stockton (49), El Dorado Springs (62) and St. Michael the Archangel (86). Lamar (129), Carl Junction (186) and Nevada (218) were fourth, fifth and sixth.



PREP VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: Carl Junction, Seneca and College Heights earn wins


NEOSHO, Mo. — Carl Junction earned a 25-14, 25-11 and 25-14 sweep of Neosho for a Central Ozark Conference road win on Tuesday.

The win improves the Bulldogs’ record to 14-3, 2-0 in conference play. 

Jessa Hylton led Carl Junction with nine kills, while Karissa Chase added eight kills and a block. Logan Jones finished with 37 assists and seven aces. Olivia Vediz had 11 digs, while Maggie Brown added 10 digs. 

Carl Junction hosts Willard on Thursday. 



SENECA, Mo. — Seneca earned a 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-19 and 25-18) win over Cassville on Tuesday to improve 8-7 and 2-0 in the Big 8 Conference. 

Jera Jameson had 12 kills and three blocks to lead the Indians, while Rylee Darnell had nine kills and a block. Parker Long added seven kills, 13 digs and three aces, while Braxton Raulston finished with 11 digs. Ellie Barnes had 11 digs, six kills and a block kill, while Tatum White had six kills. Brylee Sage, who had two aces, and Darnell combined for 38 assists.

Seneca is at Nevada on Thursday.



GRANBY, Mo. — College Heights went on the road and earned a 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 25-15 and 25-19) win over East Newton on Tuesday.

The win improves the Cougars’ record to 10-5-1.

Addie Lawrence finished with 21 kills to lead CHC, while Lauren Ukena had 12 kills, 16 digs, six aces and 17 service points. Maddy Colin added 35 assists and 15 digs, with Ava Masena finishing with 28 digs and 14 points in service. Lindsay Griesemer had 15 digs, with Marley Woodford finishing with three blocks.

College Heights hosts Thomas Jefferson on Thursday.

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Carthage rallies to beat Joplin 3-1 in COC action

After dropping the first set, Carthage rallied back to win the second, third and fourth games to earn a 3-1 victory over Joplin in Central Ozark Conference action on Tuesday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

“I think that we played hard, but we obviously did not play our best,” Carthage coach Braydn Webb said. “I think all of my girls would say that. Joplin had a great match, but it was great to see us battle adversity and come back stronger each set.

“It is a great win. We lost to Joplin in districts last year, so I think our girls were hungry to beat them. We are going to see Joplin again in districts this year, so this prepares us a little more for districts, which is our main goal.”

Carthage’s Ava Bourgault returns a serve in the Tigers’ win over Joplin on Tuesday. Photo by Israel Perez.

The Eagles (8-5-3, 2-1 COC) opened the contest with the momentum, winning the first set 25-18. The Tigers (12-11-1, 1-2 COC) rebounded to take the second set 25-22 before Carthage carried the momentum into another 25-22 win in the third game. Joplin jumped out to a big lead in the fourth and final set, but as they had from the onset, Carthage rallied back to complete the win 25-20.

“I am really proud of my kids,” Joplin coach Desiree Felker said. “We fought really hard but just didn’t come out on top tonight. We did a lot of things well, we just have to learn to play better when the game is on the line. Statistically, this might be one of the best games we played all season. It just sucks we were on the losing end of it. … I think this is a building block to get us where we need to be.”

Joplin gained a foothold in the opening set after a trio of three-point service runs from Allie Lawrence, Abby Hembree and Abby Edwards staked the Eagles to a 13-5 lead. Two attacking errors on the Tigers and a kill from Emma Floyd extended the lead to 17-10. Joplin held that cushion to the end of the set.

“She was huge for us,” Felker said of Floyd’s play. “We switched the lineup up to open things up a little more for her. She is super aggressive and super competitive. I knew if we could get her the ball, she was going to make some things happen. She was huge for us tonight.”

Carthage gained a cushion in the second set off a four-point run from Grace Pickering, which ended with an ace, for a 9-6 lead. Consecutive kills from Mia Carmillo later in the set put the Tigers on top 17-12. With Carthage leading 22-17, a four-point run by Joplin, highlighted by a block from Bailey Owens, a kill from Angelina Schramm and an ace by Paisley Parker trimmed the lead to 22-21. A kill from Sydnee Dudolski and an ace from Riann Schwartz moved the Tigers in front three and led them to the eventual win in the second game.

“I think the biggest difference from set one to sets two, three and four was that Carthage was able to put a little more pressure on us behind the service line,” Felker said. “They were able to go on a couple of runs and that was the biggest difference. We just have to side out a little quicker and prevent teams from going on those long runs.”

Joplin’s Kaya Cooper sets up a kill in the Eagles’ loss to Carthage on Tuesday. Photo by Israel Perez.

The third set saw the score at 13-12 in favor of Joplin extended to 17-12 by the Eagles after a three-point run from Parker that included a kill from Schramm. Carthage countered with a three-point run from Pickering that included a block by Sophie Shannon and a kill from Abby Holderbaum to cut the deficit to 17-15. Up 22-20, Carthage forced a sideout with a kill from Shannon before closing the game out with the next four points on Olivia Bourgault’s service that included two kills from Carmillo, another kill from Shannon and an ace by Bourgault to end it.

“It all comes down to the confidence that the girls have in themselves,” Webb said about the difference in play from the first set to the next three. “In that first set, we were struggling with being mentally tough. The last few sets, our serve-receive picked up and our energy picked up, and I think that all stems from them having confidence in themselves. We have worked really hard on that.”

Joplin jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the fourth set on the back of a kill from Floyd and an ace by Parker and eventually pushed the margin to 16-8 midway through.

Carthage rallied with a three-point run from Raven Probert that included an ace to trim the deficit to 16-12. After a pair of sideouts on errors, the Tigers scored the next seven points on Ava Bourgault’s serve to come all the way back and take a 20-17 lead. Dudolski had three kills during the stretch, with Holderbaum adding a block. 

“She was amazing,” Webb said of Dudolski’s finish to the win. “In the first couple of sets, she struggled. She knew that and owned up to it. … She stepped up and mentally was there for us. She can put a ball away wherever it’s at, which is why she is the player she is. She is so versatile.”

Carthage’s Sydnee Dudolski earns a kill during the Tigers’ win over Joplin on Tuesday. Photo by Israel Perez.

Floyd earned a kill for Joplin to force a sideout, but it wouldn’t be enough as Carthage went on to win the set on a kill from Dudolski and a passing error on Joplin.


Dudolski led Carthage with 12 kills and 15 digs, while Pickering had eight kills, four aces and three digs. Bourgault had 18 digs and an ace, while Probert had 14s and 10 assists. 

Schramm finished with 10 kills, four aces, three digs and a block for Joplin. Floyd had nine kills, three blocks and two block assists. Parker had 38 digs, two aces and two assists. Kaya Cooper had 19 assists and six digs.


Carthage hosts Republic on Thursday.

Joplin hosts Nixa on Thursday.

PREP SOFTBALL: Early offense sends Joplin past Carl Junction for first COC win

After a run-rule win over Aurora on Monday, Joplin doubled down on Tuesday after batting around the order on the way to a five-run first inning to take a foothold, while Jill McDaniel was strong in the circle as the Eagles defeated Carl Junction 11-1 in five innings in Central Ozark Conference action at the JHS Sports Complex.

“It stems from the last couple of weeks,” Joplin coach Manny Flores said of his team’s play as of late. “We played Nixa really tough and Ozark really tough and played other good teams in our conference in one-run games. I think that has carried over to this week and it is allowing us to be more confident. That has allowed us to play a little more aggressively and confidently, and you have to do that in this game. If you are not confident, you are going to lose a lot of games.”

Joplin took control with the five-run first inning before adding an insurance run in the second, two more in the third and two in the fifth to end the contest with the Bulldogs early.

“I thought we were a little slow to start, and that tends to be an issue we deal with every once in a while,” Carl Junction coach Zak Petty said. “We started to come back and limit some of those innings where it could have gotten out of hand early. Sometimes, our inexperience shows, and it’s tough.”

McDaniel earned the win after allowing one hit and one unearned run over five complete innings. She walked one and struck out eight.

“She has done an excellent job of commanding the zone, throwing strikes and letting her defense make plays,” Flores said. “When she does that, she is a tough pitcher to face. She has done a great job of getting better every single day and giving us a chance to win.”

Hannah Cole took the loss after allowing 11 runs, three earned, on 13 hits, a walk and a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings.

“She wasn’t feeling great today, but she really battled,” Petty said. “I thought she did a really good job. She is a rockstar, mentally. Especially for a freshman being out there. … She does a great job of getting the ball and being ready to go. She is going to grow and get so much better that we need to pick it up around her and help her out some more.”

The win marks the first conference victory of the season for the Eagles, which is 13-12, 1-7 in the COC. Carl Junction is 2-19 and 0-7 in the COC.

Joplin wasted little time getting the bats going, as the first three batters reached with base hits to build an early 2-0 advantage.

Bailey Ledford led the inning off with a triple to center field before scoring on a single from Liz Snider. Jadyn Pankow followed with a sharp single up the middle for an RBI and a 2-0 lead.

Kirsten McMillen added a sacrifice fly later in the inning before McDaniel wrapped the scoring with a two-strike, two-out, two-run double to right-center field to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

“It allowed us to settle into the game a little bit,” Flores said of his team’s start. “In the COC, you have to show up no matter what because any team can beat any team on any given day. … It is just about being confident in their approach and coming out aggressive, and they did that today.”

The Eagles added an insurance run in the bottom of the second inning when Pankow singled up the middle to plate Snider for a 6-0 lead.

Carl Junction got on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning when Hannah Cantrell hit a chopper in front of the mound with the throw to first ending up in the right-field corner, giving Cantrell enough time to circle the bases and touch home.

Joplin added two more runs in the bottom of the third when Pankow hit a sacrifice fly to right that was followed by an RBI single through the left side from Madisyn Tracy to push the lead to 8-1.

“Anytime you are playing a COC matchup and you don’t continue to add on runs, you’re in trouble,” Flores said. “Good teams are going to capitalize on that. … It was important for us to continue to add on there.”

Joplin ended the game in the fifth inning when McMillen reached on an error that allowed two runs to score to make the score 11-1.


Joplin’s offense wracked up 11 runs on 18 hits, with every member of the starting lineup registering a base knock in the win.

“We were aggressive from the get-go, and that is what we have preached all year,” Flores said. “Today was our best output from start to finish. We were aggressive to start and we stayed aggressive through the end, and it showed on the scoreboard.”

Abby Lowery had three hits, scored twice and drove in one, while Pankow had two hits and three RBI to lead Joplin. McDaniel doubled and had two RBI as well. Tracy added two hits, scored a run and drove in one.

Dezi Williams had the lone hit for Carl Junction, while Cantrell scored the only run.


Joplin hosts Willard on Thursday.

Carl Junction hosts Branson on Thursday.


PREP SOFTBALL: Elder leads Carthage to fifth straight win


BRANSON, Mo. — Another stellar pitching performance from Jensyn Elder led the Carthage High School softball team to its fifth straight win.

A senior, Elder struck out 15 batters and gave up just one run on one hit in an outstanding complete-game effort as the Tigers earned a 4-1 win at Branson on Tuesday.

Elder, who walked three, threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of 28 batters. 

Presley Probert and Natalie Rodriquez had two hits apiece for the Tigers.

Branson’s Peyton Bonsey took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits.

Carthage plated a single tally in the second after Rodriquez tripled to left and later scored on a Jordyn Jones groundout.

In a two-run sixth, Probert hit an RBI double to left and Rodriquez added a run-scoring single to center for a 3-0 lead.

Branson’s lone run came in the bottom of the sixth when Jocelyn McQueen singled and later scored on an error. 

The Tigers added an insurance run in the seventh when Kate Potter’s single drove in A. Jackson.

Carthage (15-11, 5-2 COC) hosts Ozark on Thursday. Branson (7-12) is at Carl Junction on Thursday.  


GIRLS TENNIS: Joplin earns Senior Night win over Neosho


The Joplin High School girls tennis team sent its seniors out with a win, as the Eagles defeated Neosho 9-0 on Tuesday at the JHS courts. 

The team’s seniors, Astrid Cardenas, Cloey Blank and Madi Corl, were recognized.

“Our seniors are all going to be missed,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “While we were saying goodbye to our seniors, we also got a chance to get matches for our younger girls that want to take the spots they are leaving open.” 

In doubles, Joplin’s Cardenas and Emma Watts defeated Neosho’s Jasmine Martinez and Lyndsey Doke 8-0 to remain unbeaten.

“Astrid and Emma improved to 20-0 on the season in doubles tonight with a convincing win,” Perry said. “I sat them out of singles to get some of our other girls some experience and it lets them rest some before the conference tournament tomorrow.”

At No. 2 doubles, Blank and Brynn Driver beat Alexandra Olsbo and Georgia Housh 8-1, while Jadyn Elder and Alex Carson defeated Keely Keeton and Sydnee Minton 8-0 at No. 3 doubles.

“Alex and Jadyn have been playing well together all season on JV, so I wanted to see how they would do with the extra pressure,” Perry said. “And they played lights out, not dropping a single game.”

In singles, Abry Stayton defeated Martinez 8-1, Mya Ndedi-Ntepe topped Doke 8-3 and Blank beat Oslbo 8-0. 

Driver defeated Housh 8-1, Corl defeated Keeton 8-4 and Zayda Derganc beat Minton 8-0.

“Abry played up to No. 1 tonight and did a great job getting the win,” Perry said. “Mya had a tough start at No. 2 but she was able to pull away after getting up 4-3. Cloey and Brynn did great in both of their matches. Cloey was able to get a solid win at No. 3 which was great for her on Senior Night. Brynn played the highest spot on the team that she has ever had to at No. 4, but she handled the pressure amazingly. Madi got her first varsity singles win tonight. Zayda had a great match today, also getting her first varsity singles win tonight.”

The Central Ozark Conference tournament is slated for Wednesday at JHS. 


PREP SOFTBALL: Webb City earns run-rule win over Neosho in debut of renovated stadium

WEBB CITY, Mo. — On the day they debuted their newly-renovated softball stadium, the Webb City Cardinals put together one of their best performances of the season. 

Solid in all facets of the game, Webb City rolled to a 10-0 run-rule win over Neosho on Tuesday in a Central Ozark Conference clash.

Before Tuesday, the Cardinals had played all of their home games of the 2021 campaign at Chuck Barnes Field. They finally got to host a game at their improved facility, which features new seating options for fans, a new backstop, new dugouts and a turf infield playing surface.

“The seniors were really excited about getting back on our field,” Webb City coach Shauna Friend said. “It was great to start off with a big win here in a conference game. I think the girls were focused today and they really wanted to give their best on this new field.” 

Laney Taylor delivers a pitch to the plate for Webb City on Tuesday against Neosho.

The Cardinals got the bats going in a big way, took advantage of Neosho’s miscues in the field, played nearly flawless defense and received a solid pitching performance. It all added up to a convincing win. 

“I was really pleased with our offense today,” Friend said. “I think we bounced back from our last few games where we struggled a little bit offensively. Neosho’s always a tough team. We know they’re always going to give their best, so it was just a good conference win for us.” 

Neosho stranded eight runners on-base and never recorded a timely hit.

“I’m very disappointed in the way we played today,” Neosho coach Catie Cummins said. “Lili Graue got on-base with no outs every time she was up to bat and we couldn’t score a run. That’s unacceptable. If you can’t score, you can’t win. We’re missing a few players due to illnesses and that’s been a challenge, but that’s not an excuse. We’ve got to be better.”

Webb City is now 11-9 overall and 4-3 in COC play. Neosho fell to 11-8 and 2-4 in conference action. 

After the Wildcats stranded a pair of runners on-base in the top of the second, the Cardinals pushed across a single tally in the bottom half to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Emma Welch tripled to right field and later scored on Ripley Shanks’ infield single. 

The hosts added four runs in the third. Peyton Hawkins and Hannah Wells both singled before Kaylyn Gilbert delivered a two-run double to left.

Welch added an RBI single before two runs scored on a Neosho error after Shanks laid down a bunt. 

The visitors looked to be in business in the fourth, as Maddie Carpenter singled and Chloe Patterson doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out. 

But Webb City pitcher Laney Taylor maneuvered out of trouble by striking out both Baylie Bowers and Tatiyana Douglas.

Webb City went up 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth after run-scoring hits from Wells and Welch. 

Later in the inning, another run crossed home after a fielder’s choice off the bat of Shanks, making it 8-0.

In the top of the fifth, Neosho had runners on second and third with one out, but the Wildcats once again failed to score, as Taylor induced a pop out and a fly out to end the threat. 

Webb City ended the game in the bottom of the fifth. Lauren Hicks doubled off the fence in right-center, and after an out, Dawsyn Decker’s line drive down the left field line allowed pinch-runner Sydney Strickland to score. The game-ending run came home when Wells smacked a single through the right side. 

Wells drove in two runs on three hits, while Welch had three hits, two RBI and two runs scored.

Shanks had four RBI on two hits. Brannon had two doubles and scored twice, while Gilbert added a pair of hits.

Taylor was the winning pitcher. A freshman, Taylor scattered five hits, walked three and struck out three in the shutout win.

“It was a great game for Laney,” Friend said. “She works hard for her teammates.” 

Neosho’s Chloe Patterson started in the circle against Webb City on Tuesday.

Neosho’s Graue went 2-for-2 with a double and a walk from the leadoff spot. Abbie Carpenter, Maddie Carpenter and Chloe Patterson had one hit apiece. 

Patterson took the loss. She gave up five earned runs on seven hits and struck out four in 3 2/3 innings. Carleigh Kinnaird went the final inning, allowing two runs on five hits with one strikeout.

Three errors in the field came at inopportune times for the Wildcats. 

“You can’t ask for more from our pitchers,” Cummins said. “Webb City has a good lineup, but our pitchers were getting pop-ups and ground balls and we weren’t getting outs. We have to play better defense and we have to push some runs across when we have people on-base.” 

Both teams are in Class 4 District 6, so they could meet again in the postseason. 

Conference action continues on Thursday for both squads, as Webb City hosts Republic and Neosho hosts Nixa. 


Neosho’s Grace Johnson attempts to turn a double play after forcing out Morgan Brannon at second base during Tuesday’s game in Webb City. Photos by Jason Peake.


Webb City’s infield comes together at the start of Tuesday’s game at their newly-renovated softball stadium.


PREP VOLLEYBALL: Webb City drops home match to Willard


WEBB CITY, Mo. — Willard gained the momentum midway through each set and never relinquished it en route to a 3-0 Central Ozark Conference volleyball victory over Webb City on Tuesday night inside the Cardinal Dome.

The Tigers defeated the Cardinals 25-17, 25-19, 25-18.

Willard improved to 14-3-1 overall and 1-1 in the COC. Webb City dropped to 12-7-1 and 1-2 in conference action.

Webb City hung tough with the Tigers early in each set, but Willard was first to 15 and 20 in all three sets. 

The first set was deadlocked at nine, but Willard pulled away at 15-12 and 20-14.

Webb City was up 7-6 in the second set when the Tigers recorded six straight points. 

Up five, Willard rattled off seven straight points to take control at 22-10. 

In the third set, it was more of the same. The set was deadlocked at 13, but Willard finished strong, closing the set and the match on a 12-5 run. 

Sophomore outside hitter Aubree Lassiter and junior outside hitter Kate Brownfield recorded eight kills apiece to lead the Cardinals. 

Brenda Lawrence, Kearston Galardo and Makenzie Storm added five kills apiece.

Setter Kyah Sanborn handed out 24 assists. 

Brownfield led the team with 10 digs, while Jenna Noel and Galardo added nine digs apiece.

Storm chipped in four digs, while Lawrence and Sanborn had three digs apiece. The Cardinals were without defensive specialist Sophia Crane. 

Webb City hosts Branson on Thursday in another COC matchup.

GIRLS TENNIS: Thomas Jefferson continues winning ways


The Thomas Jefferson girls tennis team defeated Lamar 7-2 on Tuesday in the regular season finale.

The Cavaliers end the regular season with a record of 9-1.

In singles play, Thomas Jefferson’s Allison Ding defeated Cora Pittsenbarger 8-0, Jeanna Jeyaraj beat Leah McDonald 8-0 and Kyla Yang got past Avery Bennett 8-3.

Also for the Cavaliers, Jessica Joseph topped Molly Bronson 8-3, Warda Morsy defeated Kiersten Kinney 8-4 and Emalee Ro lost to Julia Stettler 8-3.

In doubles, Ding and Jeyaraj defeated Pittsenbarger and Bennett 8-2, while Yang and  Ro edged McDonald and Stettler 9-8 (7-3 tie-breaker). 

Lamar’s Bronson and Kinney defeated Joseph and Warda 8-5.

The Cavaliers will compete at the individual district tournament on Friday.

PREP VOLLEYBALL: College Heights falls to Golden City in five sets 

GOLDEN CITY, Mo. — College Heights fell in five sets to Golden City on Monday.

The Cougars (9-5-1, 1-1 Ozark 7) dropped the opening set 17-25 before battling back to take the second and third sets, 25-15 and 25-22. Golden City rallied to take the fourth set 25-22 before winning the decisive fifth set 15-13.

Addie Lawrence led CHC with 19 kills, while Maddy Colin had 42 assists, five aces and 24 points in service. Lauren Ukena added 15 kills, while Lindsay Griesemer finished with 11 kills and 22 digs. Ava Masena had 18 digs, while Marley Woodford added 14 points in service.

College Heights is at East Newton on Tuesday.

GIRLS TENNIS: Thomas Jefferson upends Carl Junction


Thomas Jefferson earned a 7-2 win over Carl Junction on Monday in a girls tennis dual. 

Tom Brumfield’s Cavaliers improved to 8-1 on the season.

Thomas Jefferson won five of six singles matches.

At No. 1 singles, TJ’s Allison Ding defeated Naiyah Wurdeman 8-2, while Jeanna Jeyaraj edged Jenna Besperat 8-6 at No. 2 singles.

Carl Junction’s Shirley Sherwood defeated Kyla Yang 8-3 at No. 3 singles, but the Cavaliers won the remaining contests.

Jessica Joseph defeated Valeria Alamina-Poor 8-4, Warda Morsy nipped Emily Higgins 8-6 and Emalee Ro defeated Alyssa Graves 8-3.

In doubles, Ding and Jeyaraj defeated Besperat and Sherwood 8-3, while CJ’s Wurdeman and Higgins beat Yang and  Ro 8-1.

At No. 3 doubles, Thomas Jefferson’s Joseph and Warda defeated Alamina-Poor and Graves 8-6.

Thomas Jefferson travels to Lamar on Tuesday. Carl Junction hosts Nixa on Tuesday. 

PREP SOFTBALL: Tracy clubs three homers, McDaniel strikes out 11 as Joplin beats Aurora 12-1

Joplin senior Madisyn Tracy hit three home runs to lead a Joplin offense that scored crooked numbers four times in the Eagles’ 12-1 win over Aurora on Monday.

The Houn’ Dawgs (6-13) scored a run in the top of the first inning but it was all Eagles from there. Joplin (12-12) took the lead with two runs in the second before adding two runs in the third, one in the fourth, five in the fifth and two more in the sixth to end the game via run rule.

Tracy highlighted the win with a trio of long balls, going yard the first time in the bottom of the third to score Bailey Ledford and give Joplin a 4-1 lead. Tracy added a two-run home run to center in the bottom of the fifth to plate Jadyn Pankow, who doubled in the previous at-bat, to push the lead to 7-1. Tracy promptly ended the game in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer to center to plate Riley Kelly. Tracy finished the game with six RBI and three runs scored.

Jill McDaniel earned the win in the circle after allowing one run on two hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts in six innings.

Ledford had two hits, including a triple, drove in one and scored a run, while Izzy Yust tripled and doubled and scored two runs. Pankow doubled on the way to two hits and a run scored, while Maria Loum had two hits, including a double, scored a run and drove in one.

Joplin hosts Carl Junction on Tuesday.

PREP SOFTBALL: Early runs lift Carthage past Nevada 6-1

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage started its week off right after scoring five runs in the first three innings to give Jensyn Elder more than enough support in a 6-1 non-conference win over Nevada on Monday.

Nevada (12-8) scored a run on a passed ball in the top of first inning before Carthage (14-11) rallied with a three spot in the bottom half to take the lead. The Tigers added insurance in the second, third and fifth innings while Elder was nothing short of dominant in the circle to completion.

“Lately, we have been putting a lot more time in our cage,” Carthage coach Stephanie Ray said. “We’ve had a lot of 1-0, 2-0 ballgames and we are trying to score more runs. Today, I think it was a good way to start off the week, going and putting six runs up.”

Elder earned the complete-game win, allowing one unearned run on six hits, three walks and 16 strikeouts in seven innings of work. What kind of a roll is Elder currently on? The win over Nevada was the third straight game Elder has struck out 16 batters.

“She is really good at locking back in if she gives up an early run,” Ray said. “If she gives up a run, she gets right back and knows she is out there to do a job. She competes well in the circle.”

Peyton Eaton took the loss for Nevada after allowing six runs, five earned, on 10 hits, two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

Bailey Ast led off the Nevada half of the first with a double to right-center before eventually coming around to score on a passed ball to put NHS up 1-0.

Carthage didn’t wait long to respond. Kate Potter hit a one-out single to right before moving to third on a double to center field by Landry Cochran in the next at-bat. After a walk from Presley Probert loaded the bases, Natalie Rodriguez smacked a ball to center that short-hopped the wall for a two-run double. Probert was tagged out in a rundown between third and home on the play, but the throw back to second to get Rodriguez ended up in right field and allowed Rodriguez to come around and touch home to give Carthage a 3-1 lead.

“When they got that 1-0 lead off that passed ball, it was big,” Ray said. “For us to come back, put some runners on base, stay within ourselves, put some balls in play and make things happen, it was big to come out of that first up 3-1.”

“She drove that ball pretty hard,” Ray said of Rodriguez’s go-ahead double. “It got the dugout going. … I think that was probably the hit that got us going for the game.”

Carthage added insurance an inning later when Mary Grace Richmond brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. CHS made the score 5-1 in the bottom of the third after Probert led off the frame with a solo home run to center field.

“We feel like if we score five or six runs, we will be able to win a lot of ball games playing that way,” Ray said of her offense adding on throughout the game. “Like I said, we’ve been playing in a lot of close games, so to get five or six runs is a relief.”

Carthage wrapped its scoring in the fifth when Jordyn Jones drove home a run with a two-out single to left.

“It was huge to come up with that hit,” Ray said. “We have been stranding a lot of runners at second and third. It was nice to see them stepping up and driving them in.”


Probert homered on the way to two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Jones had two hits and drove in one. Cochran, Rodriguez and Ashlyn Brust all doubled for Carthage. 

Ast had three hits, including a double, and scored a run to lead Nevada. 


Carthage is back to conference play with a matchup at Branson on Tuesday before hosting Ozark on Thursday.

Nevada hosts Smith-Cotton on Tuesday before hosting McDonald County on Wednesday.

PREP SOFTBALL: Webb City drops home game to Wyandotte


WEBB CITY, Mo. — Webb City suffered a 3-0 loss to Wyandotte on Monday in a non-conference prep softball contest.

The Cardinals fell to 10-9 on the season, while the Bears improved to 28-7. 

The visitors plated two runs in the top of the first inning. After two singles, a bunt and a fielder’s choice, a run scored after two errors in the field before the second run came home on a bases-loaded walk. 

The Bears added a run in the third when Haley Jones reached on an error and later scored on Laken McCoy’s RBI groundout.

The Cardinals stranded two in scoring position in the bottom of the fourth. Hannah Wells doubled, Kaylyn Gilbert walked and Emma Welch moved the runners over with a bunt. 

But Wyandotte pitcher Gracie Turner retired Emalee Lamar and Ripley Shanks to keep the hosts off the scoreboard. 

The Cardinals also stranded two on-base in the fifth.

Webb City brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Turner retired Peyton Hawkins to end the game. 

Webb City was limited to six hits and left eight runners on-base in the seven-inning affair. 

Wells and Dawsyn Decker both went 2-for-3 at the plate. Shanks and Lauren Hicks added one hit apiece. 

The Cardinals had three errors in the field.

Laney Taylor was charged with the loss. A freshman, Taylor went four innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Addison Brown pitched the final three innings. She gave up no runs and just two hits while striking out two. 

Turner earned the complete-game win for Wyandotte. Turner struck out 10, walked one and scattered six hits.

Taylor Lundien had two of Wyandotte’s six hits, while Jones scored a pair of runs. 

Webb City hosts Neosho at 4:30 on Tuesday in a Central Ozark Conference clash.  

PREP FOOTBALL: Latest Missouri Media rankings released


Below are the statewide high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. 

Joplin remained ranked third in Class 6, while Carthage stayed at No. 2 in Class 5. Webb City is ranked fourth in Class 5.

Nevada is ranked 10th in Class 4, while Lamar is on top of the Class 2 poll. 



First-place votes in parenthesis.



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. CBC (5), 4-1, 95, 1 
  2. Liberty North (4), 3-1, 93, 2 
  3. Joplin (1), 5-0, 78, 3
  4. Lee’s Summit North, 5-0, 64, 5 
  5. DeSmet, 3-2, 63, 4
  6. Francis Howell, 5-0, 48, 6
  7. Nixa, 4-1, 38, 7
  8. Hazelwood Central, 5-0, 28, 8
  9. Park Hill South, 5-0, 26, 9
  10. Raymore-Peculiar, 3-2, 13, NR 

Dropped out: No. 10 Kirkwood

Also receiving votes: Kirkwood (4-1), 4



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Jackson (8), 5-0, 98, 1
  2. Carthage (2), 5-0, 90, 2  
  3. Holt, 5-0, 82, 4 
  4. Webb City, 3-2, 62, 5
  5. Raytown, 2-1, 60, 3
  6. Lebanon, 5-0, 51, 6 
  7. Fort Osage, 4-1, 30, 8 

    T8. Jefferson City Helias, 4-1, 24, 9 

    T8. Platte County, 3-2, 24, 7

  1. Ladue, 4-1, 15, 10

Also receiving votes: Rockwood Summit (5-0), 14 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Smithville (8), 5-0, 98, 1
  2. West Plains (1), 5-0, 86, 2
  3. MICDS (1), 5-0, 83, 3 
  4. Hannibal, 5-0, 73, 4
  5. Union, 5-0, 56, 6
  6. Lincoln College Prep, 5-0, 47, 8
  7. McCluer, 4-1, 29, 9
  8. Vashon, 5-0, 25, NR
  9. Warrensburg, 3-1, 22, 10
  10. Nevada, 4-1, 20, NR  

Dropped out: No. 6 Harrisonville, No. 7 St. Dominic

Also receiving votes: St. Dominic (3-2), 10; Harrisonville (3-2), 1



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Odessa (10), 5-0, 100, 2  
  2. St. Mary’s, 3-1, 90, 2
  3. Valle Catholic, 5-0, 77, 3
  4. St. Pius X, 5-0, 70, 4
  5. Lutheran North, 3-2, 58, 5
  6. Boonville, 4-1, 48, 6
  7. Blair Oaks, 4-1, 42, 7 
  8. Cardinal Ritter, 3-2, 28, 9 
  9. Park Hills Central, 4-1, 20, 10
  10. Mexico, 4-1, 13, 8

Also receiving votes: Kennett (5-0), 4 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Lamar (10), 5-0, 100, 1
  2. Fair Grove, 5-0, 87, 2 
  3. Hallsville, 5-0, 81, 4 
  4. Ava, 5-0, 55, 7  
  5. Butler, 5-0, 50, 6 

       T6. Lafayette County, 4-1, 43, NR 

      T6. Lutheran St. Charles, 3-2, 43, 3

  1. Duchesne, 3-2, 30, 8 
  2. Richmond, 4-1, 26, 5 
  3. Bowling Green. 4-0, 19, 10

Dropped out: No. 9 Jefferson

Also receiving votes: Jefferson (4-1), 14; Warsaw (5-0), 2 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Windsor (9), 5-0, 97, 1
  2. Mid Buchanan (1), 5-0, 82, 3 
  3. Monroe City, 5-0, 81, 2
  4. Hayti, 4-0, 65, 4
  5. Marionville, 5-0, 61, 5
  6. East Buchanan, 5-0, 56, 6 
  7. Harrisburg, 5-0, 32, 7
  8. Thayer, 3-1, 30, 8
  9. Hamilton-Penney, 4-1, 25, 9
  10. Skyline, 3-2, 10, 10

Also receiving votes: West Platte (4-1), 6; Marceline (4-1), 5  

BOYS SWIMMING: Webb City records state-consideration times at COMO invite


COLUMBIA, Mo. — Webb City’s boys swim team competed alongside many of the state’s best squads at the COMO Invitational on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

The trip was a successful one for the Cardinals. 

Webb City coach Shawn Klosterman reported that his team swam state-consideration times in numerous events. On top of that, many of the Cardinals swam season or lifetime bests in their respective events.

“Even though no one made the finals, it was actually an incredible meet for us,” Klosterman said. 

Webb City’s Micah Brouwer recorded state-consideration times in both the 200 individual medley (2:10.76) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.85). Brouwer placed 21st in the prelims of both events. 

Ethan Shipley recorded consideration times in both freestyle races, with a time of 53.33 seconds in the 100  (39th place) and a time of 1:56.88 in the 200 free (33rd).

Zion Wood swam a consideration time of 1:07.97 in the 100 breaststroke and was 36th. 

Judah Ritchie finished 41st in the 100 backstroke with a consideration time of 1:02.29. 

The Cardinals also swam consideration times in all three relays. 

The Cardinals were 24th in the 400 freestyle in 3:43.95, with Shipley, Steve Kenlee, Brouwer and Cody Herndon swimming. 

The 200 medley relay team of Ritchie, Wood, Brouwer and Shipley finished 25th in 1:50.8.

Webb City’s 200 freestyle relay team of Wood, Kenlee, Aiden Patterson and Herndon finished 26th in 1:41.79. 

In the diving competition, Webb City’s Carson Forcum was 22nd in the prelims, while teammates Eric Keeling and Carter Forcum were 25th and 27th, respectively. 

Webb City is scheduled to host a quad on Thursday. 

PREP FOOTBALL: Central Ozark Conference standings


Standings after five weeks

          Record      PF       PA

Carthage  5-0        232       56  

Joplin    5-0        211       85

Nixa      4-1        191       78

Webb City  3-2       201      129

Republic   3-2       170      138

Carl Junction  2-3    84      133

Branson     2-3      108      166

Ozark       1-4       122     162

Neosho      0-5        94     279

Willard     0-5        55     241


2021 season results, schedule

August 27 scores 

Joplin 41, Webb City 40

Carl Junction 39, Willard 13

Carthage 49, Ozark 14

Republic 47, Neosho 12

Nixa 42, Branson 6


September 3 scores

Joplin 28, Nixa 25

Webb City 49, Neosho 20

Carthage 28, Carl Junction 0

Republic 45, Willard 21

Branson 23, Ozark 21


September 10 scores

Joplin 42, Ozark 7

Webb City 56, Republic 20

Carthage 71, Neosho 14

Carl Junction 33, Branson 7

Nixa 49, Willard 14


September 17 scores

Joplin 44, Carl Junction 6

Carthage 42, Webb City 14

Branson 58, Neosho 28

Ozark 52, Willard 0

Nixa 21, Republic 10


September 24 scores

Joplin 56, Willard 7

Webb City 41, Carl Junction 6

Carthage 42, Branson 14

Nixa 54, Neosho 20

Republic 48, Ozark 28


October 1 games

Joplin at Republic

Branson at Webb City

Neosho at Carl Junction

Willard at Carthage 

Ozark at Nixa


October 8

Carthage at Joplin

Webb City at Nixa

Carl Junction at Republic

Neosho at Ozark

Branson at Willard


October 15

Joplin at Branson

Ozark at Webb City

Republic at Carthage

Nixa at Carl Junction

Willard at Neosho


October 22

Neosho at Joplin

Webb City at Willard

Carl Junction at Ozark

Carthage at Nixa

Branson at Republic

(Regular season ends)


CROSS COUNTRY: McAuley gains experience at East Newton


Competing in a competitive field of teams, the McAuley Catholic boys cross country team finished 10th at the East Newton Invitational on Saturday in Granby.

McAuley coach Andy Youngworth noted his team continues to gain valuable experience. The Warriors are still still short-handed, as well. 

“We rebounded from the meet at Southern last weekend and I am very proud of our efforts,” Youngworth said, adding the Warriors may be back to full-strength soon. 

McAuley’s Phillip Motazedi (19:40) and Drew Zeb (19:48) finished 55th and 56th, respectively. Youngworth noted both runners recorded personal-best times.

“They improved last year’s times by 1:20 and 2:40, respectively,” Youngworth said. 

McAuley’s Armando Alberto was 71st in 20:50. 

Also competing were Kable Reichardt (76th), Kevin Tran (82nd), Cliff Nolan (86th) and Grant Horinek (105th). 

Youngworth said Reichardt ran his best race to date. Tran, a first-year runner as a senior, continues to improve and gain confidence, Youngworth added.

McAuley will compete at Lamar on Tuesday. 


East Newton Invitational

Boys team standings: Neosho 48, East Newton 48, Lamar 69, Republic 83, Galena 171, McDonald County 173, Webb City 196, School of the Ozarks 232, Parkview 270, McAuley Catholic 271, Reeds Spring 306, Wheaton 317, Diamond 331.