Chillicothe (Mo.) Soccer Lady Hornets Strafe St. Joseph: Benton 6-0
Reeter notches second ‘hat trick’ of season plus three assists, Gabrielson finds net twice, Italiano limps to third shutout
- Reeter raises season goals total to nine in six matches
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Inside the first 30 seconds of their Monday (April 5, 2021) girls’ soccer match in Chillicothe, St. Joseph: Benton executed several nice passes up the left side of the pitch to work the ball deep into the CHS end of Bob Fairchild Field at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II.
When the host Lady Hornets misfired on a couple of chances to control the ball as Benton played it into the middle of the pitch inside the CHS penalty area, the visiting Lady Cardinals appeared to be on the verge of scoring right off the opening kickoff.
However, despite Chillicothe’s momentary misadventures, no Benton player could get the ball on her foot squarely enough to test CHS junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano in that sequence. By the time the St. Joseph team finally did put her to any test at all, the contest was into its second half and the Lady Hornets held a 4-0 lead on their way to an eventual 6-0 non-conference triumph.
“Great energy. Applied pressure all night and really took it to them,” Jimmy Chapman, CHS first-year head coach, said of his squad’s dominance after the shaky first 30 seconds.
Playing the first half with the strong southwest wind at their backs, the Lady Hornets (4-2) repeatedly directed the ball deep into the Benton end of the pitch. Even though, particularly early, many of those wind-aided drives wound up bouncing harmlessly beyond the end line, eventually, the constant pressure on the Benton defense caused fissures which CHS forwards Lucy Reeter, Juliann Gabrielson, and Allison Ishmael exploited.
That group – with top scorer Reeter ringing up her second 3-goals “hat trick” of the season and matching it with an equal number of assists – accounted for all of the Chillicothe goal scoring, beginning with Gabrielson’s third tally of the season after 7:01 and ending with her fourth on a 2-on-none break-in with Reeter at 66:23.
In between, Ishmael rolled an undefended shot into an empty net from only a few yards out for her second goal of the season and Reeter rang the bell at 23:35, 42:55, and 53:46.
Already having become the fastest Lady Hornet ever to reach 25 career goals when she popped in two goals five days earlier, Reeter completed her 3-goals match when Benton misread Julia Stimpson’s right-sideline throw-in into the BHS “18” (penalty area).
The ball landed untouched and bounced over the head of a Benton back toward the goal, creating a footrace between a BHS defender and the ever-pressuring Reeter while startled goalkeeper Brooklyn Colwell – caught flat-footed by her teammate’s initial misjudgment – stayed back at her goal line.
While the Benton player in the chase with Reeter won the race, she mistakenly chose to try to angle a clearing kick from near the left goalpost up the middle of the pitch. As she did so, Reeter veered off in her pursuit angle just enough to intersect the angle of the clearing attempt and, leaping, had the ball hit her in the side of the leg and bounce past the startled BHS netminder and into the Benton net about five yards away.
While that goal was more about Benton mistakes and a bit of good fortune, Reeter’s 26th and 27th career goals earlier had been things of soccer beauty – one for its solo excellence and skill and the other because of precision 3-way teamwork.
With Chillicothe already owning a 2-0 lead on Gabrielson’s and Ishmael’s tap-in goals in the first 20 minutes, the ball was sent in Reeter’s direction from near midfield late in the 24th minute of the match.
The Lady Hornet outdueled two Lady Cardinals to come away with the ball on her foot about 35 yards from the BHS net. Feigning looking to dribble to her left toward the middle of the pitch, Reeter suddenly touched the ball softly with the outside of her right foot between the two Lady Cardinals, darted between them, and, in a flash, was on her way to the goal with no defender between herself and the goalkeeper about 28 yards away.
Not surprisingly, the Chillicothe offensive ace won the 1-on-1 duel, waiting until Colwell had started to come toward her in hopes of cutting off the shooting angle to direct the ball relatively softly toward the far corner of the goal, several yards wide of the oncoming ’keeper. The self-created shot from just less than 10 yards easily rolled into the goal, leaving Chillicothe with a 3-0 halftime lead.
Several minutes into the second half, Reeter tacked on a second tally of the day mostly because of what teammates did.
With Benton making a throw-in from the west sideline, about midway between midfield and the CHS goal line, senior back Chloe Funk made a great read of the throw-in’s path and, darting quickly to her right, not only intercepted the ball on a short hop just outside the CHS “18,” but controlled it and initiated a counterattack.
Taking a couple of quick strides toward midfield with the ball, she spied Gabrielson all by herself in the middle of the pitch about 15 yards ahead of her.
Directing the ball past a Benton player or two into that open space, Funk put it right into Gabrielson’s path. The sophomore accepted the ball in full stride, dribbling it forward for a few strides to just short of midfield while drawing the gaze of a pair of BHS backs.
When she saw them giving her their full attention, the CHS sophomore chipped the ball over their heads, aware that the wind blowing toward her would allow it to be easily chased down by the accelerating Reeter before either defender could turn and retreat.
Reeter collected the ball about 15 yards beyond midfield and with no Lady Cardinal between her and the goalkeeper again.
As Reeter charged into the Benton penalty area, Colwell opted not to come out to try to narrow Reeter’s shooting angle this time, but that didn’t work either. The Chillicothe sniper simply dribbled all the way to within about five yards and then easily tucked the ball into the short (near) side of the net for a 5-0 Chillicothe lead at 42:55 of the match. Gabrielson picked up her initial assist of the season.
Following Reeter’s deflection for her third goal, she returned to the facilitator role she’d filled on the first two CHS goals.
A high Chillicothe throw-in into the wind from the east sideline was misjudged again by Benton backs, who overran it. Reeter gauged correctly where the wind would push the ball on the bounce and got to it first. As the Benton defenders again focused on the ball, rather than their positioning, Reeter played it past them for the charging Gabrielson to easily run onto at about the top of the penalty area.
With Reeter hurrying to join her on her right, Gabrielson moved to within 10 yards of the goal before, pounding a hard, right-footed riser between the BHS netminder and the right (near) goalpost and into the upper part of the net at 66:23. The 10th grader’s second goal of the match earned Reeter her third helper of the day and sixth of the season.
Back in the first half, Reeter shots on net had turned into assists when Colwell gave up rebounds.
As the seventh minute of play was concluding, Reeter fired a low shot from about 12 yards away to the goalkeeper’s left. While the shot was stopped, the carom went right to Gabrielson in front of the net for a simple tap-in from a few yards away.
Not quite 10 minutes later, a similar scenario occurred.
With Reeter farther away on the right side this time and not getting as much steam on her shot from about 15 yards, Colwell bent to scoop it up, only to have a retreating teammate extend her leg to try to control it before it reached the netminder.
That caused just enough distraction for the Benton ’keeper to have the ball carom off her gloved hands and to her right, directly into the middle of the field right in front of the yawning BHS net, where a waiting Ishmael tapped in the rebound at 23:35 for a 2-0 CHS lead.
Reeter’s early second-half goal on the beautifully-executed transition play started by Funk led to a final 40 minutes Chapman praised as “some of our best soccer” thus far in 2021.
After not having to make a save in the first half, Italiano was required to stop five Benton shots in the last 40 minutes, but only one was of a dangerous variety.
Around mid-half, a Benton player nearly caught up with a ball played into the penalty area from the offensive right side, but junior Italiano came out to get to it just before the Lady Cardinal.
The Benton player’s momentum was such that, as she tried to stop and avoided the Chillicothe goalkeeper, she accidentally kicked Italiano just above the right knee.
While the CHS transfer didn’t look to be seriously injured on the play, she was more and more limited in her movements the final 20-plus minutes, limping very significantly. That might call into question her availability for Chillicothe’s next outing, Thursday home play against Savannah.
That will be a Midland Empire Conference match, beginning with the varsity action at 5 p.m.