CHS gets two goals from freshman in first half and a third in final five minutes Thursday, May 2, as it tops visiting Savannah 3-0

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — A pair of hard, well-aimed Lucy Reeter shots from the right side in the final 7:10 of the first half provided the necessary elbow room before the freshman forward completed her second 3-goals “hat trick” late as the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS soccer Lady Hornets picked up their 12th win of the 2019 season and eighth in their last nine matches Thursday (May 2), a 3-0 home decision over the Savannah Lady Savages.

The Midland Empire Conference triumph at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II moved CHS to 3-2 in league play.

Entering the action with the team lead in goals with 12, one more than senior Sarah Graves, freshman Reeter twice converted Graves passes into goals, including the initial tally of the battle which had been very-evenly contested to that time.

Just on the Chillicothe offensive side of midfield and toward the middle of the pitch, Graves fed the ball ahead to her right toward her speedy teammate. Touching the ball past a Savannah back crowding her from behind, Reeter quickly spun past the Lady Savage and had open field ahead to the SHS penalty area about 20 yards away.

Able to maintain her speed with a couple of long touches, thanks to that space, Reeter cruised in the Savannah “18” with time to measure her steps and set herself for solid contact on her shot. Well in from the right sideline and with the goalkeeper having stayed back only a few yards from her line, Reeter used her right foot to pull a hard, low shot across to the net, well beyond the netminder’s reach and a couple of yards inside the far (right) goalpost with 7:07 left in the opening half.

As the first-half clock ticked just under two minutes remaining, CHS junior Magy Thomas, settling more and more effectively into the attacking midfielder’s position in the second half of the season, took control of the ball in the middle of the pitch, about 45 yards away from the SHS goal.

She directed a pass to Reeter ahead of her on the right, who again redirected it past the defender shadowing her and raced to recover it as it rolled toward the SHS penalty area. Staying wide right to keep inside backs from getting between her and the net, Reeter ended up a stride or two inside the penalty area, when she chose to let fly with another right-footed drive which, given the angle to the right, was released about 20 yards from the middle of the goal.

Using the distance to her advantage, Reeter propelled the ball on a rising plane, but toward the middle to far side of the net. That combination allowed it to, at its apex, clear the leaping goalkeeper’s outstretched arms a few yards from the goal line and toward the defensive left side of the net before, as its velocity diminished, sink below crossbar height before crossing the goal line on the right half of the goal. With only 1:44 remaining in the first half, Reeter had given CHS a 2-0 cushion.

That margin held for nearly the rest of the match, preserved in highlight-reel fashion with about 12 minutes left by senior goalkeeper Kennedie Kieffer.

After a CHS offensive flurry was turned back by the Lady Savages, Savannah got the ball into some open space in the middle about 35 yards out from its goal. A SHS player there, whether intentionally or by happenstance, drove the ball high the CHS back line which was still backtracking at around midfield.

The long pass was read with perfect timing by long-striding freshman Lady Savage Corinne Stewart, who accelerated toward the CHS defensive end just as the long pass was made. As Chillicothe defenders turned to retreat, Stewart was at full forward speed and burst beyond them, allowing her to run onto the ball uncontested about 45 yards from the Chillicothe goal line.

A series of dribbles as she bore down on Kieffer and the goal with no obstruction kept the SHS ninth grader well in front of the CHS back line, probably with more time and room to maneuver than she realized. With room to steer the ball slightly back to her right to create a better shooting angle, Stewart instead raced straight forward along the offensive left hashmarks of Bob Fairchild Field until getting within about 12-15 yards of the goal.

From that position, once Kieffer read the attacker’s slowing stride in preparation to shoot, the veteran all-MEC goalkeeper moved out from her goal line about five yards, narrowing the amount of net Stewart had to shoot at. By cutting down Stewart’s shooting angle, Kieffer was right in the way of the Lady Savage’s left-footed, short-side drive, blocking the ball harmlessly away toward the defensive left sideline.

Stewart flashed her speed a couple of times after that to create possible offensive threats, getting away another hard, left-footed shot from about 12 yards away inside the last 10 minutes that the well-positioned Kieffer again denied.

Victory already secured, in all likelihood, as the clock moved into the final five minutes of regulation time, Chillicothe’s top two scorers on the season again tangoed to produce Reeter’s “trick.”

Graves caught a couple of defenders attacking her about 35 yards out in the middle and a third watching that action and popped a pass beyond them, allowing Reeter to break into the SHS penalty one-on-one with the goalkeeper. That proved to be a mismatch as Reeter, with the Lady Savages netminder having initially charged out from the goal in hope of beating the Lady Hornets frosh to the ball, easily running onto Graves’ feed first and, with the ’keeper frozen several yards away, simply directed a medium-speed, ground-ball well to the netminder’s right and into the gaping goal’s right half with 4:23 left to play.

Chillicothe came very close to adding on in the final 30 seconds when it got the ball deep into the penalty area. Maggie Pfaff, looking to become Chillicothe’s third player to score at least 10 goals this season, found the ball on her foot just to the offensive left of the goal and only about five yards away. Her hurried shot hit the right goalpost and bounced right back to her, leading to a crisp shot which ended up going right at the ’keeper, who grabbed it chest-high.

The CHS triumph was its second over Savannah this spring. It won 1-0 at Savannah previously.

Statistically, Reeter jumped her goals total to 15, Graves tallied her fifth and sixth assists, tying her with Pfaff for the team lead again, and Thomas’ setup on the middle goal was No. 3 on the year for the junior.

Kieffer and Chillicothe’s defense notched shutout No. 11 this season, one shy of the individual and team records established last year. It was the 28th of 3-years-starter Kieffer’s outstanding career, 10 more than former record-holder Jaylene Sturguess.

Next on the docket for the Chillicothe soccer girls (12-4, 3-2 MEC) is due to be a rematch with Kirksville at home Monday at 5 p.m. in what could be a preview of the approaching district-tournament championship match in Chillicothe.

The Lady Hornets own five 1-0 triumphs in a row over Kirksville over the past three years – two of them this spring, including a double-overtime victory at Kirksville in March and the other in the Lady Spartans Invitational tournament at Moberly in mid-April.