Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Soccer Hornets Streak On, Shut Out Mexico
Post 14th-straight win, 2-0, with seventh shutout of year Saturday; volleyball season over
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Solid defensive positioning and coverage, backed by ready-when-needed goalkeeping from senior Jaxon Albertson, allowed the streaking Chillicothe (Mo.) HS soccer Hornets to make a beeline to a midday Saturday 2-0 home triumph over Mexico.
Goals late in each half provided the margin of CHS’ team-record 14th victory in a row heading into the final regular-season match of 2021 Wednesday (Oct. 27) against Savannah.
After the Hornets (16-3) were unable to finish off multiple good scoring chances they generated through the first 35 minutes of the match, one of their two top scorers was johnny-on-the-spot to capitalize on a brief moment of Bulldogs miscommunication to break the scoring ice.
As the ball was played high into the air by CHS’ Ben Cueni-Smith toward the MHS penalty area as the first-half clock clicked down toward three minutes remaining, a retreating Bulldogs back – with CHS’ Chace Corbin on his heels – retreated to play it, only to see Mexico’s goalkeeper approaching to field it, as well.
As the ball landed and bounced between both Mexico players, each hesitated, as if expecting the other to make a play on it. In that instant, Corbin darted between them to deflect the ball away from both, just long and far enough to hurriedly tap the ball slowly toward the vacated goal from about 10 yards out. Despite the slow pace of the shot, no Bulldog could intercept it before it rolled across the goal line for the first scoring of the match with 3:01 showing on the first-half clock.
With Chillicothe’s midfield and overlapping backfield coverage limiting the looks Mexico, which scored five times against the Hornets in a 6-5 CHS victory during a September tournament victory at Moberly, had at the Chillicothe goal, that single first-half goal by the hosts looked like it might be able to stand up as the margin of another CHS win.
However, with Hornets fans nervous about the possibility of a momentary lapse allowing Mexico to tie the match even as the contest moved into its last 10 scheduled minutes, the Hornets continued to push for chances for a pressure-easing second goal. Finally, their efforts were rewarded.
After a crisp sequence of attacking passes by the Hornets put the ball deep into the MHS end of the Bob Fairchild Field pitch with about seven minutes remaining, Mexico was able to briefly deny the CHS attempt to get the ball into the net-front area.
However, Chillicothe quickly recovered possession in the center of its offensive third of the pitch and, with a couple more passes, again had the ball on the foot of forward Drake Cosgrove inside the Mexico penalty area on the offensive left side.
Without a clear look at the MHS goal himself, Cosgrove looked to again try to find an opportunity to feed a teammate more directly in front and this time spied one in junior Sam Reeter.
Firing the crossing pass, Cosgrove hit S. Reeter about seven yards away from the goal, slightly to the offensive right of center. Triggering a quick, left-footed shot, S. Reeter had it glance off an approaching Bulldogs back, altering its course and pace. That left the goalkeeper out of position and unable to react as the deflection looped past him to his left and into the Mexico goal a few yards inside the left (from the defense’s perspective) goalpost. With 6:29 remaining, the Hornets had self-insured the extension of their winning streak on the fourth goal of the season by S. Reeter and his second in as many matches.
With Mexico showing increasing signs of anxiety and frustration, Chillicothe rather easily closed out the win and the team’s seventh shutout of the fall. In gaining credit for his sixth whitewash personally, Albertson was required to make only four total saves, only one of which would be labeled as tough as the backs ahead of him effectively blunted Mexico’s attempts at attack.
Statistically, Corbin’s goal was No. 25 for him this season, tying him with Jacob Rockhold (2008) and Derek Hussey (2014) for fourth-most by a Hornet in a season. It also was his 44th career tally, sixth all-time in the CHS program’s 15-years history.
For Cosgrove, who had riddled Mexico for a Chillicothe-record six goals in the September meeting, his assist was his 10th of the year. Cueni-Smith picked up helper No. 7.
The most-successful – record-wise – season of Chillicothe (Mo.) HS volleyball since 2016 concluded Thursday with a straight-games loss to the host team of the Class 3 District 16 Tournament.
Facing St. Joseph: Benton on its floor for a second-consecutive match, CHS was unable to push the Lady Cardinals as hard in the rematch as it had two nights before, losing 13-25, 14-25, 19-26 to drop the curtain on an 11-16 season.
That wins total is the program’s largest in five years and matches the second-highest since 2012. However, it also represents a fifth-consecutive sub-.500 campaign and included a 1-6 Midland Empire Conference ledger.
Statistically in the finale, Delanie Kieffer’s nine defensive “digs” and senior Gracie West’s five “kills” (spikes) led the Lady Hornets. Junior Jessica Reeter’s modest four assists were CHS’ most, while juniors Anna Fisher and Claire Walker led the servers with a pair of aces (unreturned serves) each, second-year head coach Bob Long reports.
This year’s Chillicothe team had only three seniors active as it wrapped up – West, Claire Ripley and Makayla Vance, although Vance was not in action in the closing match.