CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage girls soccer suffered its first setback of the season after falling to Nixa 3-0 in Central Ozark Conference action on Thursday at David Haffner Stadium.
Nixa scored the lone goal of the first half in the ninth minute to hold the lead by halftime. The Eagles went up 2-0 after the Tigers recorded an own goal midway through the second half. Nixa added a goal late to seal the win.
Despite the loss moving the Tigers to a 3-1 record on the season, Carthage coach Taylor Beck was pleased with her team’s performance against a quality program.
“I just got done telling them that is the best soccer I have seen Carthage play in my three years here,” Beck said. “(Nixa) is a really good team. I told the girls coming in they couldn’t be too cocky, but they couldn’t play scared either. And they weren’t. They were settled in. We changed our formation a little bit, and I think that helped. They did a good job of getting back on defense, too. They did a solid job. I am really proud of them.”
Nixa pushed across the only goal of the first half when Kelsi Moore found the back of the net in the ninth minute to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.
In a scary moment late in the first half, Carthage keeper Kaitlin Reyes was forced to leave the game with an injury after a collision with a Nixa player. Kylie Sanchez took over in goal and recorded a save on a free kick before Reyes returned with 1:40 left until halftime and played the remainder of the contest.
“I always tell them the girls on the bench are there for a reason, and we are going to use them,” Beck said. “When we use them, they could be out there for a minute or for 50 minutes. But, however long we need, we need them to work 100 percent, and Kylie did exactly that. She was a very valuable player at that time. … Kaitlin came back in and had a strong finish.”
Nixa pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 61th minute after an own goal by Carthage.
After the Tigers just missed a goal with time dwindling, Nixa found the back of the net for the third time on a goal from Katie Kamies in the 81st minute.
The Tiger struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end against Nixa after scoring a total of 30 goals through the first three games of the season. After a scoreless first half, Carthage intently played much of the early portion of the second half on the defensive end. The Tigers had several scoring opportunities late in the second half with a shot off the upright and one off the crossbar, but ultimately came up empty.
“We were purposefully playing back and playing more of a defensive game,” Beck said. “I think the only thing we needed to do better was connect our passes and connect as a team offensively.”
The positive takeaway from Beck—the Tigers did have a strong performance on the defensive end.
“I think that we recovered great on defense,” Beck said. “That’s what I told them to do. We wanted to play a defensive game and they did awesome.”
Carthage hosts Carl Junction on Tuesday.
“They like playing a defensive game, and they did solid at it,” Beck said when asked about her team’s preparation for the continuation of the COC portion of the upcoming schedule. “I am going to let them continue because as long as we connect offensively, they’re going to be great. … (Nixa) is one of the top teams. … We will learn from our mistakes.”