MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2018, CHILLICOTHE HS ROUNDUP: St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond claims shootout in sixth round, 4-3. Gillespie has strong day for golf Hornets in Bishop LeBlond Tournament
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — After an overall strong, but offensively-fruitless, match, Chillicothe High School’s soccer Lady Hornets were edged 1-0 by visiting St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond, beaten in the first extra round of a penalty-kicks shootout.
After having, by far, the advantage in offensive threats during 80 regulation-time minutes and 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime, Chillicothe found itself still in a scoreless match, bringing a sense of foreboding to the proceedings at CHS’ Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II.
With the action now to be decided by a “PK shootout,” one break or fluke in the ensuing 1-on-1 battles between goalkeepers and shooters could leave the Lady Hornets saddled with an outcome unreflective of how well they had played for 100 minutes.
That, in fact, was what ultimately settled the match in the Lady Golden Eagles’ favor.
After Chillicothe junior goalkeeper Kennedie Kieffer started the best-of-5-rounds shootout on a high note by stopping Lady Golden Eagles scoring star Sommer Herner on the opening shot with a diving stop to her right, CHS took a lead on Morgan Grable’s second-round tally into the right side of the north net.
However, after Mykel Heese’s high riser in the third round made it 2-1, things were evened a second time when BLHS netted the first try of the fourth round.
With a chance to take a 3-2 advantage and force Bishop LeBlond to score in the fifth round to extend the match, the Lady Hornets’ fourth try sailed high. When BLHS’ Katie Welter pumped home a third-straight shot for her team, it was do-or-die for Chillicothe, which had its top scorer awaiting.
Junior Sarah Graves froze the Lady Golden Eagles netminder, right-footing a rising shot from 12 yards out into the left side of the goal to knot the shootout count again at 3-3.
After each coach selected five different players for the next round, but now with the format for winning changed from most goals in five attempts to being ahead after any round, the competition resumed.
As lanky Lady Golden Eagles midfielder Kim Green strode into her shot, Kieffer read or anticipated the right-footed shot to likely be to her right and she took a step that way. When it went to her left instead, she planted her right foot and, with a step or two, stretched out her left arm as Green’s moderate-speed, low shot neared the goal.
For an instant, it appeared the CHS ’keeper had made a near-miraculous save as the ball hit her arm or hand and caromed toward the sideline. However, the ball’s impact had been enough to create a carom at an angle which allowed it to still be traveling forward while also going sideways. Fortunately for the visitors, the ricochet left the ball still inside the left goalpost by a yard or two at most, once more giving Bishop LeBlond the upper hand with CHS forced to respond or be defeated.
The Lady Hornets’ must-make sixth shot had plenty of steam as it zipped more or less straight ahead, but it also had too much air under it, rising cleanly and harmlessly just over the crossbar. Bishop LeBlond had claimed a Midland Empire Conference match in which, led by outside backs Kaylee Lewis and Elli Ross and a rotation of “markers” on Herner, very good Chillicothe defensive coverage and execution had limited to only about three serious or decent scoring chances while CHS had mounted double-digit legitimate scoring threats.
“The defense was able to execute perfectly the game plan vs. one of the top scorers in the region, limiting her to only two shots on the game,” Shannon Grable commended his squad, “but, as soccer goes sometimes, they came up on the losing end.”
The Lady Hornets (8-4, 1-2 MEC) won races and battles for the ball all match, thwarting most Bishop LeBlond attempts to get the ball into its offensive third, even when it had the steady, strong. northeast wind partially at its back in the second half and second overtime segment.
As a result, Chillicothe made offensive foray after foray, maneuvering the ball well and deep into the BLHS end.
Time and again, shot attempts, crossing passes from the edges, and a half-dozen or more Lady Hornets corner kicks had the ball near the Lady Golden Eagles net. However, to the visitors’ credit, none of the threats resulted in a clean, clear shot on net. Chillicothe’s hardest or closest shots repeatedly went either wide or high and those that made it on frame either were from longer distance or deflected and slowed and were handled with relative ease by goalkeeper Kenna O’Riley.
Chillicothe will try to bounce back to the “wins” column on the road Thursday, visiting St. Paul Lutheran at Concordia for a 5 p.m. non-conference match.
Gillespie has Sharp Day for Golf Hornets in Tournament
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Coming into Monday’s Bishop LeBlond Invitational Tournament with an average north of 117 strokes per 18 holes, Chillicothe High School freshman Colby Gillespie looking to find the form which had firmly established him in the varsity lineup during preseason intrasquad competitions and which had produced the team’s best 9-holes round by someone not named Hayden Montgomery.
Even as Montgomery faltered a bit, firing a season-high 93 that still was CHS’ best of the day, Gillespie made it around the St. Joseph Country Club course in a steady 53-53–106, more than 11 strokes under his average.
“Colby had the best day of all of our players,” Hornets coach Jim Wheeler summarized after the Hornets posted a low-4 team total of 443. While almost identical to its totals in its three previous tournaments (a pair of 442s and a 445), that 443 earned CHS 10th place among 13 teams in Monday’s event.
Conversely to Gillespie’s good fortune, senior Montgomery’s round was about 11 strokes over his season average and left him six strokes out of the top 10. Ace Brooks Jungbluth of host Bishop LeBlond, the Midland Empire Conference champion, was tourney medalist with a 71, two strokes ahead of teammate Hank Lierz as the Golden Eagles sailed to the team title with a 318. Kansas City: St. Pius X was second at 328.
Rounding out CHS’ team-scoring quartet were C.J. Williams with a 116, exactly his average, and Spencer Shira’s 128, 11 above his average.
The fifth Hornet playing in the tourney was Dalton Ripley, a third freshman. He produced a 134, about eight strokes over his average thus far.
Chillicothe’s golfers will wrap up their regular season on Thursday with a tournament at Savannah. Next Monday, five players will represent CHS in the district tournament at Excelsior Springs.