Warrensburg got three goals from star forward Taylor Geis, and used aggressive defense to advance to the state quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Republic. The loss ended a historic season for Republic, which advanced to the sectional round of the state playoffs in only its second season.
Coach Mike Hines told his players not to let one loss define their season.
“Remember we have done so many things this season that were beyond a lot of people’s expectations,” says Hines.
After forcing a corner kick quickly to start the game, Republic lost the momentum and never got it back. On Warrensburg’s first scoring opportunity, Republic defenders were unable to clear the ball after multiple shots, until Geis finally scored from close range to make the score 1-0.
Warrensburg’s defense dominated the rest of the way. Republic was unable to get an open look on the goal, and when they did, freshman goalkeeper Jessica Tiller was there to stop the shot. Tiller was making her first career varsity start.
Neither team allowed another goal until 15 minutes into the second half, when Geis got loose again and put the ball in the back of the net. A third goal with 4:30 remaining accounted for the final score.
Republic ends its season with a 16-10 record. The season included a first-ever district title for the second-year program, and a third-place finish in the powerhouse Central Ozark Conference.
Hines says it’s too soon to say what this year’s success will mean for Republic’s program in the future, but he has hopes.
“For us personally, it’s obviously a lift,” Hines says. “Now, let’s see if we have some residual effect.
“I know one thing that’s going to make a difference is people aren’t going to take us soft anymore,” says Hines. “At the beginning of the year, folks were looking at us like, ‘Oh, that’s an easy “W” because they’re just a second-year program.’
“For self-confidence in the athletes…I think it goes a long way.”