Golf Hornets fourth in LeBlond tournament Monday, April 26

Soccer Lady Hornets blanked 1-0 for second match in row

As reported to C-T

ST. JOSEPH — Although overwhelmed by the sizzling host squad, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ golf Hornets were a representative fourth among 12 high school boys’ teams which participated in Monday’s (April 26) Bishop LeBlond Invitational Tournament.

After that action wrapped up at the St. Joseph Country Club, CHS’ soccer Lady Hornets also found Bishop LeBlond too tough on the pitch, falling by shutout for a second-straight outing, 1-0.

GOLF

Playing on the relatively-unfamiliar course, the golf Hornets produced a team score of 381 with their four best rounds of the 18-holes tourney on the par-71 course.

That was eight strokes back of third-place Maryville and within 18 of runnerup Kansas City: St. Pius X, champion of last week’s Chillicothe Invitational.

None of them were even within sight of the champion hosts. Led by their No. 4 player Pat Johnston firing a 1-under-par 70, Bishop LeBlond’s Golden Eagles had the best four individual scores and a dazzling team score of 296.

Presumably related to the tourney medalist, BLHS’  Nos. 1 and 2 lineup members – Jeffrey and Tim Johnston – registered a 74 and 75, respectively. Completing the scoring foursome was No. 3 Sam Schoebert with a 77.

“That team is LOADED and has no seniors,” Chillicothe coach Jim Wheeler marvelled.

As for Wheeler’s own squad, of its top four players – all of whose scores comprised the team count, the best day belonged to current No. 1 player Colby Gillespie.

Having begun the tournament having used only one less stroke to date than fellow senior Spencer Shira through the Hornets’ first seven 2021 outings (covering 81 holes), Gillespie slightly bettered his season average with a 44-40–84. That put him ninth in the medalist standings.

Likewise, freshman No. 3 player Jackson Trout had a rather “average” day with a 48-46–94 that was tied for 15th individually. He came in with an 18-holes average of 91.

However, Shira and James Mathew each found the club layout consternating, forcing their totals into triple digits. Shira posted a 51-50–101, tying for 23rd, and frosh Mathew a 26th-place-sharing 51-51–102. Both were their season highs.

The other Hornets varsity player, senior Dalton Ripley, was his customary self, shooting a 53-50–103, a stroke under his average. That had him tied for 28th among the 59 total players.

Reacted Wheeler, “Our guys did pretty well considering, first, the course is very challenging, second, the wind was howling, and, third, all of them had either never played the course before or hadn't since 2019 when they were sophomores.”

Monday’s results suggest Bishop LeBlond is a top-heavy favorite to win next week’s Midland Empire Conference Tournament, which it will host, but at the public Fairview Golf Course.

St. Pius X projects as its most-likely challenger, while Chillicothe could get into a battle for a top-3 or -4 finish.

Before then, the Hornets will participate in a tournament at Savannah Thursday.

SOCCER

Odds are if you attend a Chillicothe HS soccer Lady Hornets match this season, you’ll see a shutout by one side or the other.

That was the case again Monday when, for a second match in a row, it was CHS taking a hard-luck 1-0 loss, this time in regulation time at Bishop LeBlond’s Eagle Stadium in northwest St. Joseph. The only scoring was delivered by Lady Golden Eagle Reese Robertson about 8-10 minutes into the second half.

“Proud of the team,” commented rookie head coach jimmy Chapman after his team’s overall record dipped to 8-6 and its Midland Empire Conference ledger went back to level at 2-2.

“For the second-straight game, we dominated possession, had more shots, created more chances, and generally played pretty well, but the final ball (scoring shot) hasn’t been there for us,” Chapman assessed. “We were unlucky on a number of occasions.”

Victorious 4-2 over BLHS’ Lady Golden Eagles on the artificial turf of Bob Fairchild Field back at their Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium home on the final day of March, the Lady Hornets solved the Bishop LeBlond defense, but not the goalkeeper. 

“We really stepped up the pressure and intensity,” Chapman related.

The current scoring doldrums – Mid-Buchanan had shut Chillicothe out for 93-plus minutes last Thursday in a double-overtime 1-0 match – don’t worry the Lady Hornets’ coach.

“Going through this will make us stronger. I think the girls are really starting to understand what it takes to reach our goals and the level we need to play at,” he reflected.

“This team is really close to being at our top level, and just in time. We have six matches in the next two weeks to prepare for districts.” 

Chillicothe junior netminder Allie Italiano was very good again, making nine saves.

On tap next for the Chillicothe girls is a week-long break from competition until they visit St. Joseph: Benton for another MEC match May 3.