The Ozark Tigers faced Springfield’s Kickapoo HS tonight at Tigers Stadium in what began as a competitive tug a war between two of the areas top teams. The Tigers started the match strong, equally matching the skilled Chiefs in possession and intensity. The Tigers, coming off a lack luster performance in Tuesdays loss to Willard, proved their abilities to play with the areas best opponents. After making several formation and defensive adjustments to start the match, the first half remained scoreless. The Chiefs athleticism was apparent in the central midfield, where possession for the tigers was difficult to retain. Both sides created opportunity in the offensive third, with the Chiefs slightly edging the Tigers in shots on goal. Senior Goalkeeper, Hunter Earnest, came up with several great saves in first half, which ended at 0-0.
The second half saw the Chiefs gain an early goal, in the 46 minute, with a through ball played down the left side. Deep in the Tigers box, a well place cross was connected at the far post by the outside forward. Down 1-0, the Tigers struggled to regain their composure under the Chiefs pressure. A defensive foul at the top of the box in the 53rd minute against the Tigers resulted in a quickly taken free kick which went just past Earnest’s outstretched hands, giving Kickapoo a 2-0 lead. The experienced Kickapoo squad never looked back, generating several unanswered opportunities to take the lead to 5-0. The Tiger defense managed to limit the Chiefs on several opportunites throughout the match, with excellent efforts from Senior Ross Ruhman, Junior Alex Bauer, and Sophomore Bailey Williams, but the Chiefs presence in the midfield throughout the second half proved too much as Kickapoo ended with a 6-0 victory.
The Tigers will face Republic HS tomorrow night at Tiger Stadium, and will be looking to avenge last years double overtime loss to Republic. Game time is 6:30 pm.