In Waynesville soccer's 25 years of history, the Tigers have advanced to the Class 3, District championship only a few times.
LEBANON, Mo. – In Waynesville soccer's 25 years of history, the Tigers have advanced to the Class 3, District championship only a few times.
In as many chances, Waynesville fell short again to the Jefferson City Jays, 4-0, on Thursday.
After the game, Tigers' coach Mike Armstrong said he was caught off guard by this season's success.
"I really didn't know if we'd make it this far back in August, but I'm extremely proud of how well they fought and how hard they worked to get here," Armstrong said.
Within the first three minutes Jefferson City tallied two shots toward Tiger goalkeeper Jon Moore (Jr.), and within the first nine minutes, the Jays racked up five corner kicks.
Despite so much pressure, Waynesville's defense stiffened against the Jays' attack, holding the opponent scoreless until the 18th minute.
With 22:00 minutes remaining in the first half, a Waynesville hand ball allowed the Jays' Aaron Crane (Sr., F) a free kick, which found Marcus Woodruff (Sr., F) for a goal by header.
Down 1-0 on the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers' Shane Jewett (Sr., F) kicked a beautiful pass to a teammate inside the box, but the referee called Waynesville offside before a shot attempt.
Then, four minutes after Jefferson City's first score, a Tiger defender was whistled for a foul inside his own goalkeeper's box. The resulting penalty kick was hammered in by Crane to give the Jays an early 2-0 lead.
After the goal, the Jays continued keeping pressure on Waynesville's defense, eventually leading to a third goal with just 47 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Tigers finished the first period scoreless, though the team failed to capitalize on two possessions.
"Jeff[erson] City made sure we didn't get a clean look at [the goal]," Armstrong said. "They knew what we had and it's just too bad we couldn't sneak one through."
Jefferson City (19-6) scored again in the 49th minute, then solidified its defense to finish with a 4-0 shutout victory and district championship.
"[Jefferson City] scored four on us, [but] three of them were all set pieces," Armstrong said. "Unfortunately they got the free kicks and we couldn't hold them off."
After the contest, Tiger student-athletes showed their emotion after playing their final match of the 2013 season.
"I feel bad for them," Armstrong said of his squad. "What probably did us in was Jeff[erson] City's first touch and our lack of a first touch."
Graduating Tigers include: Logan Long, Shane Jewett, Roberto Bachellor, Josh Rada, Robert Bruns and Brandon Ruess.
Despite losing a core group of leaders, the Tigers will return 10 varsity student-athletes in 2014.
"We have great kids, but we just hope the military doesn't take any more away than we anticipate," Armstrong said of his returners. "We've got some young guys I think will grow into this and learn."
The team finished 14-10 overall this season.
Jefferson City will play Rock Bridge on Tuesday. Time and location are TBD.