Goals record falls, but so do Chillicothe HS soccer Lady Hornets

Lucy Reeter nets 27th of ’21 in 5-1 loss at Maryville; CHS coach blames his strategy

As reported to C-T
Chillicothe (Mo.) HS soccer Lady Hornets junior forward Lucy Reeter leaps over the sliding St. Joseph: Benton goalkeeper to avoid a collision as both raced for a ball in the BHS penalty area during the teams' April 5 match in Chillicothe. On Friday, May 14, Reeter hurdled Lindy Saunders into first place on CHS' single-season goals chart with her 27th of the season in a 5-1 loss at Maryville.

MARYVILLE — In sports, the resetting of any individual or team record always is more pleasurable in the moment when it happens in the course of a victorious performance, but, over time, its achievement always transcends the circumstances.

With Chillicothe High School soccer Lady Hornets junior Lucy Reeter on the precipice this week of claiming the second-to-last program scoring record she had not already acquired, having Tuesday’s home match against St. Joseph: Lafayette overshadowed by the opponent having about half of its roster absent and only nine players available dimmed the glow of Reeter tying Lindy Saunders’ single-season record for goals.

On Friday, in the regular-season finale against a Maryville squad which, deservedly, had been seeded first ahead of Chillicothe in the upcoming Class 2 District 8 Tournament, a 5-1 loss first-year Lady Hornets head coach Jimmy Chapman declared was “completely on me” for poor coaching strategy dulled the thrill of Reeter’s surpassing Saunders’ mark with 2021 goal No. 27.

Following five unanswered MHS Lady Spoofhounds goals – four in the last half of the opening half, with the ball pinballing back and forth on the CHS defensive end of the pitch, Lady Hornets senior forward Allison Ishmael walloped a long high kick about 40 yards up the field beyond Reeter and two MHS backs were grouped at midfield.

With a quicker reaction and more speed than her opponents, Reeter spun toward the Maryville goal and chased the ball down with no one between her and the MHS goalkeeper some 45 yards away.

Breaking in and angling to her right a bit to set up a shot with her more-dominant right foot when she sensed the time was right, Reeter was just a yard outside the 18-yards deep MHS penalty area when, with the Lady Spoofhounds ’keeper having come about 10 yards off her line to narrow the shooting angle, she stroked a measured, low shot slightly back to her left. The ball easily eluded the netminder, whose momentum – in tracking Reeter’s movement – was going the opposite direction, and, slowly rolled through the thick grass and into the gaping goal for the record-breaker midway through the match’s 61st minute.

Reeter’s 46th career goal (in less than two seasons), set up by Ishmael’s sixth assist, proved to be the only damage Chillicothe did in the Midland Empire Conference match as CHS’ final regular-season record settled in at 13-7 and their league mark closed at 4-3, both laudatory numbers.

Afterward, Chapman, former CHS player and veteran of several years as assistant coach for both the girls’ and boys’ programs before ascending to the Lady Hornets’ top job this spring (he was due to do so a year earlier, but was denied the opportunity by the COVID-19 pandemic), was declarative that the decisive manner in which Maryville won was his responsibility, not the players’.

“I got our tactics wrong and they punished us for it,” he commented in his report to local media.

“The girls gave everything they had and I couldn’t be prouder of their effort. The second half was much better in limiting their opportunities and creating a few more for us.” 

With the intent entering next week’s district play, which Chillicothe will host on its faux grass field, being earning a second crack at the strong Maryville squad in a district final next Thursday, Chapman’s remarks indicated clearly that he believes a closer battle and different result are possible with a fresh start and better tactics.

That perception is both supported and disputed by results of the past decade.

In 2018, a 6-1 CHS midseason loss to the Lady Spoofhounds on the road was reversed by a 2-1 Lady Hornets triumph in the regular-season finale at home.

Similarly, except in reverse, the year before saw Chillicothe win in a penalty-kicks “shootout” at home in mid-April, then lose 3-1 at Maryville in mid-May.

However, in 2015, MHS’ 3-0 regular-season victory was followed by a 2-0 triumph over Chillicothe in the first round of state tournament play and the three years before that saw struggling CHS squads swamped twice by Maryville each time.

Friday’s contest at Maryville remained scoreless through the first 20 minutes, but not by much and with CHS junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano kept plenty busy in that span and eventually would record a season-high 25 saves. Finally, in the 21st minute, Lady ’Hound Tori Allen broke the scoring ice.

It remained that way for about 10 more minutes before MHS unleashed a 3-goals deluge before halftime. Arianne Skidmore found the net in the 31st and 39th minutes with Cleo Johnson doing so, as well, in the 36th minute.

Instead of heading into the second half in a 1-goal match and hopefully having made some adjustments that would allow them to pull even, the Lady Hornets essentially were out of it.

When Maryville’s Kennedy Kurz made it 5-nil nearing the mid-point of the last half, the only uncertainties remaining were whether Chillicothe would be shut out for a sixth time this season and whether Reeter’s seemingly-inevitable record-breaker would happen back home at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium.

Both question marks were erased rather quickly when Ishmael sent her teammate in alone three minutes later and Reeter cashed in on her chance.

Reeter, whose 19 goals as a freshman in 2019 had eclipsed Saunders’ prior ninth-grader mark of 15, earlier this season had broken the Chillicothe mark for goals in a match, surpassing Rochelle Gillilan’s five, with a half-dozen in a recent triumph on the grass at St. Joseph: Benton.

She likewise has eclipsed two other Saunders standards this year – most assists in a season (previously 12, now 20 and counting) and most points (combined goals and assists, with goals worth two points) in a season (previously 64, now 74 and potentially rising).

Although a record is not confirmable for it, as assists were not clearly tracked and reported during the first few seasons of the program, which began in spring 2007, Reeter’s recent 4-assists match also likely is the most ever.

Italiano’s 25 saves were two more than she was called on to make in the early-season 1-0 loss at Kansas City: St. Pius X.

While a rematch with Maryville with the district crown at stake is the longer-range target, Chillicothe’s most-immediate focus will be dispatching Cameron in the quarterfinal round of the district tourney Monday at 5 p.m. The Lady Hornets own two 8-0 “mercy rule” victories over the Lady Dragons already.

If it reaches the semifinals, Chillicothe would meet either third seed Savannah or sixth seed St. Joseph: Lafayette – most likely the former – next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Lady Hornets are defending district champions and finished second in 2018.