‘Julia-baisse’ nourishes Chillicothe HS soccer Lady Hornets’ win streak
College signee Stimpson nets only goal of win over Savannah on first-half free kick
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
With leading scorer Lucy Reeter unavailable, due to illness, and goalkeeper Allie Italiano gimpy, but playing, the Chillicothe (Mo.) High School soccer Lady Hornets needed to look elsewhere for sustenance Thursday (April 8), if they were to extend their fledgling winning streak to three in a row.
While they didn’t create a high-calorie feast against the visiting Savannah Lady Savages, they found the nourishment necessary to grow that streak by throwing together a little “Julia-baisse.”
The defense in front of Italiano keeping the Lady Savages from testing her very often or severely, Chillicothe got the only offense it needed from senior midfielder Julia Stimpson about midway through the opening half, making her first goal of the season stand up for a 1-0 Midland Empire Conference triumph.
Minus Reeter, their speedy outside forward who already has nine goals and six assists, the Lady Hornets didn’t have many prime scoring chances, but Stimpson made the most of one of them.
With CHS having established an early territorial edge, but as yet unable to solve Savannah netminder Elisabeth Hummer, the ball was near the top of the SHS penalty area, about 20 yards from the goal, when, in a bit of a scrum, Chillicothe freshman reserve Avery Baxter was ruled by one of the officials to have been tripped by a Lady Savage on what Savannah advocates probably viewed as a marginal call.
Nevertheless, the whistle means a direct free kick for the home team from 25 yards out and near the middle of the artificially-turfed Bob Fairchild Field pitch.
As multiple teammates and opponents deployed between herself and the goal, Stimpson had the choice of either attempting a shot or playing the ball ahead into the goalmouth area in hope of a teammate getting a chance to shoot from even-shorter range.
Probable wisely, the senior – recently signed to continue playing soccer in college next year at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. – opted to drive the ball toward the goal hard in an attempt to score directly.
Moving into the ball and making strong, solid contact with her right foot, Stimpson whistled a hard, rising shot which avoided the 4- or 5-players “wall” of Savannah defenders set up 10 yards away and zipped past Hummer to her right and into the goal after 16:20 of play.
The unassisted goal allowed CHS midfielders and backs to play conservatively in the coolish, drizzly conditions, focusing on playing layered defense against a foe without a lot of firepower, but one obviously dangerous forward, Corinne Stewart.
While the nimble and speedy Stewart repeatedly made crisp, elusive dribbling runs up the middle, the number of players CHS was able to have on its defensive half of the pitch to slow and eventually thwart her runs every time was, in part, due to having that slender lead Stimpson provided.
The result was that Italiano, despite clearly still hobbled some by the right leg injury she sustained when accidentally struck by a St. Joseph: Benton player in the first half of the preceding match last Monday, didn’t have to seriously test her mobility and reaction time against any high-quality Savannah scoring threats.
Instead, the junior picked up her and the team’s fourth shutout of the 2021 season by making about six routine saves.
Having played six of their first seven matches at home, CHS' soccer Lady Hornets will be on the road for 10 of their last 12 regular-season outings, starting with a trip to Hannibal Monday for a 5 p.m. match.