Riding a win streak of six games into Monday's contest, Waynesville's girls soccer unit was certainly on its way to contend for an Ozark Conference championship – and it still will.
WAYNESVILLE – Riding a win streak of six games into Monday's contest, Waynesville's girls soccer unit was certainly on its way to contend for an Ozark Conference championship – and it still will. But rival Camdenton has its eyes set on the same prize.
A windy struggle began with a back-and-forth first half controlled mostly by Camdenton. Then, near the 19-minute mark of the first half, the Lakers' Whitney Snow struck first on a 15-yard bullet from the left of the goalie box that rolled just underneath Waynesville keeper Lesley Larson (Sr.) to give Camdenton the match's first lead, 1-0.
The latter portion of the half ended in a physical stalemate as bodies from both teams were continually hitting the turf, but Waynesville senior Rhiannon Moore nearly tied the game with a hard shot that ricocheted off the right post.
"We had some really nice opportunities late in the first half," Waynesville coach Mike Gow said. "We hit the post one time and got called offsides on a goal; those things changed the complexion of the game."
Camdenton gathered momentum by outshooting the Lady Tigers 9-1 in the first half, including two shots, one on goal, with less than two minutes remaining in the period.
Gow said Monday's game was "soccer physical" throughout.
"I didn't see anything cheap, but both teams were going in shoulder-[first]," Gow said. "The girls fought through it."
At the midway mark, Gow signalled to his team the need to adapt to windy playing conditions and his motivational speech changed the game's trend.
"It took us awhile to settle in," Gow said. "Once we did, I thought we started moving the ball a little better."
Waynesville controlled the ball for much of the second half and nearly scored twice on shots by Moore, but the Lakers' keeper made spectacular saves to keep her team ahead.
The stalemate then continued through the 27-minute mark when Camdenton struck again, this time on a sneaky shot from the right of goal to take a staggering 2-0 lead, especially considering Waynesville's second half possession dominance.
Camdenton's defense held, however, and it wasn't until less than two minutes remained when Lady Tigers' sophomore Camia Blash netted a high-arcing 20-yard shot over the Camdenton keeper for Waynesville's first goal to finally cut into the Laker's lead.
Blash started on the offensive end before moving to defense, then to midfield, where she finally put her squad on the board.
"That's the shot we talked about taking several times during the course of the year," Gow said. "Camia is one of those players that can do a lot of different things for us."
The score was little too late for the Lady Tigers as Camdenton retained possession to end the Waynesville winning streak, and the game, 2-1.
Larson's defensive effort kept the Lady Tigers within reach during the contest.
"Our defense and keeper have really just been keeping us in the games when possession falls apart," Gow said.
Camdenton's two goals were the most allowed by Waynesville in 2013.
The Lady Tigers, now 6-2 overall, will play Friday at Hazelwood Central at 4:15 p.m., then again Saturday at Hazelwood West at noon.
Gow said his team will take the next three days to reflect recover and gear up for the weekend's games, in which the coach explained "we'll see what happens there."