Soccer Hornets, Corbin extend positive streaks

THURSDAY, Oct. 14, CHS ROUNDUP: Booters get 11th win in succession

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

Given a much-stronger challenge than anticipated, considering their 5-2 victory in the teams’ first meeting of the season at St. Joseph last month, the Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets barely kept their program-record winning streak alive Thursday.

Seemingly a split-second off in their offensive timing all match, the Hornets got only Chace Corbin’s record-extending goal in the last two minutes of the first half, but made that stand up for a 1-0 non-conference conquest that was their 11th in a row.

Thursday also saw the cross country running teams do respectably in the large Warrensburg Invitational without much tangible reward and the volleyball team sustain a Midland Empire Conference setback at Maryville.

Senior attacking midfielder Chace Corbin attempts to add to the Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets' 1-0 with a second-half shot attempt against St. Joseph: Benton  Thursday, Oct. 14. Although his foot wasn't good enough on this one, Corbin's head was in the right place at the right time to direct into the Benton net Ben Cueni-Smith's 45-yards direct free kick in the final two minutes of the opening half. That was the only scoring in the match as CHS won 1-0 for an 11th-straight time and Corbin scored a goal in a 10th-consecutive match.

SOCCER

On Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II’s Bob Fairchild Field very late Thursday afternoon

Chillicothe’s boys’ soccer squad generated many promising shooting opportunities within less than 20 yards, but either had slight misfires that led to simple saves by Benton’s alert goalkeeper, shot wide of the net, or had the try blocked by defenders before it got to the goal.

Fortunately, one seemingly-innocuous play well away from the Benton produced a perfectly-executed Chillicothe play that delivered the contest’s only goal.

As the 40-minutes-long neared its final two minutes with the match still scoreless, a foul or illegal play was ruled against Benton right in front of its bench, more than 40 yards away from its goal and only a few yards in from the field’s east sideline.

The Hornets coaching staff directed senior Ben Cueni-Smith to be the player making the resulting direct free kick, while a handful of teammates filtered toward the BHS goal in hopes of having the ball come to them amidst seven or eight Cardinals plus the goalkeeper.

After allowing his teammates time to get down into the Benton “18” (penalty area), Cueni-Smith strode the ball and rocketed a rising line drive directly toward the goal.

Running parallel to the goal line and about five yards from it, CHS attacking midfielder and second-leading scorer Chace Corbin perfectly timed his leap to graze the ball with his head, slightly redirecting its path without slowing the ball’s velocity. The nudge he gave it left the goalkeeper with no time to react and the ball zipped into the net with about 1:50 remaining in the opening half.

The goal not only was Corbin’s 22nd of the season, but meant he had found the opposing net in a team-record 10th-consecutive match. It also was the senior’s 41st career goal, snapping the tie with original Hornets soccer star Jacob Rockhold for sixth on the all-time CHS career goals-scoring list.

While the sense and hope among Chillicothe faithful was that the breaking of the scoring ice would lead to the Hornets following up with more in the second half, that didn’t happen, thanks to a strong performance by the Benton goalkeeper.

Instead, the final few minutes were played with a tension that one CHS slipup could lead to a Benton goal that would force overtime.

That nearly came about when Benton received two corner-kick opportunities with just under two minutes remaining.

After the first, low kick was cleared over the end line, prompting a second, the next one flew into the goalmouth area, where multiple players scrambled to make a clean play on it. Finally, after about five seconds that seemed longer, CHS defender Jackson Reeter blasted the ball out of the penalty area and far upfield to relieve the pressure and the Hornets ran out the remaining time without incident.

Contrary to the original schedule, Chillicothe’s next boys’ soccer action wasn’t until Monday when it visited Hannibal. A home match against Mexico originally set for Oct. 16 has been moved to this Saturday (Oct. 23) at noon. In addition, head coach Tim Cunningham reiterated, the home match against Savannah originally shown on the schedule as being on Oct. 21 will be played Wednesday, Oct. 27, instead.

CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

At Warrensburg last Thursday, with the CHS boys grouped into the “large schools” division and the 186-runners girls’ division contested, team-wise, as a single division, Chillicothe came home nearly empty-handed – Lady Hornets senior Kadence Shipers did medal by finishing 37th, even though coach Jennifer Dickson was quite satisfied with the harriers’ performances.

“Unfortunately, we didn't walk away with any medals on the boys’ side, but I'm thankful for us to get to experience a truly large, fast meet w/ some serious competitors and 10 of the 20 teams in our district.”

She continued, “The theme of the night was consistency. This was our fourth meet in 10 days, so they are worn out and have had very little recovery, but their times in the last three meets have been pretty consistent.”

K. Shipers, who has led the girls in every meet since the season opener at Maryville, was clocked in 22:47, pacing the Lady Hornets to a 10th-place finish among 18 teams. It was her third consecutive race of running below 23 minutes.

“Again, despite feeling pretty tired and worn down… the girls ran pretty consistent times,” the coach reports, “and we even had a few hit season PBs (personal bests).”

The Hornets took 11th place out of the 17 total boys’ teams in the “large” division.

“Our boys were a little upset to be placed in with the larger schools, but we know in the long run (ha), it makes us better,” the CHS coach observed.

The CHS cross country runners planned to spend a couple of days primarily resting, coach Dickson disclosed, to hopefully have  fresh legs for yesterday’s Midland Empire Conference meet on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph.

VOLLEYBALL

At Maryville Thursday, the volleyball Lady Hornets started quite well against the defending, though diminished some by graduation, Class 3 champions, but faded significantly once they dropped the close opening game 22-25.

Maryville opened a wide lead relatively soon in the second game and closed it out decisively at 25-14, the totally dominated the last game, 25-3.

Statistically for CHS (11-14, 1-5 conf.), the numbers were very modest. Delanie Kieffer made a team-most eight “digs” in floor defense. On offense, Halle Hill earned three assists and Gracie West three “kills” (spikes), while Claire Ripley managed a couple of unreturned serving aces.

The Chillicothe spikers resume play Tuesday at St. Joseph: Benton in the regular-season and conference finale.