Log in

Ozark able to celebrate fireworks after Kondracki's game-winner with :13 to play


Chloe Kondracki beat Sedalia Smith-Cotton's goalkeeper to the ball and also beat the clock in Ozark’s dramatic 3-2 Friday Night Lights triumph.

Set up by a free kick from Audrey Carlton, Kondracki scored the winning goal on a header with a mere :13 remaining in the extra period.

Carlton placed the ball to the left of the goal and at just the right spot for Kondracki to win the race to the ball ahead of Smith-Cotton’s ‘keeper.

“I knew the goalie was running at me, it was me and her,” Kondracki said. “She was making her way (to the ball). She was almost to me. I knew if I got to it, it was going in.”

Kondracki’s header was her fifth on the season. 

“I'm hungry for the ball and I'm not scared to head it,” the junior forward said. “I think maybe that (sets) me apart.”

Carlton fulfilled her teammates’ confidence in her by providing a well-placed assist.

“I had faith in Audrey and she put it in a perfect spot,” Kondracki said. “As soon as (the kick) dropped, I was like, 'Oh, this is perfect.’”

“I knew Audrey was going to send a great ball,” forward Brooklyn Schulte added.

Kondracki made a beeline to Carlton during Ozark’s celebration.

“I couldn't wait to give Audrey a hug,” she said. One of my favorite things is celebrating with my team.”

Late heroics aren’t new to Kondracki. She also delivered a winning goal in the final minute against Springfield Catholic last season.

“She likes the big moments,” coach Zack Owens said. “We need a player who wants the ball when we're coming down to the home stretch. She wants it at her feet. It's nice to have her up there and she executed when we needed her to.”

Goals by Schulte in the first half and Kondracki in the second half gave Ozark a 2-0 lead.

Kondracki assisted Schulte on her goal.

“I picked up the ball in the middle of the field and noticed there was a big hole, so I just kept going and hit the ball from about the 18(-yard line),” Schulte said.

Kondracki’s first goal came from 20 yards out and was a bullet from her left foot.

Smith-Cotton (9-10) tied things up with two second-half goals.

With fireworks on tap after the match, Kondracki felt pressure to win.

“We have the fireworks and I have family here tonight, so I was thinking, 'We need to win,’” she said.

Owens is counting on the win to provide Ozark (13-9) momentum, with Districts to begin this weekend. The Lady Tigers enter this week having won four of their last five matches.

“That was a fun one,” Owens said. “It’s good to have those kind of wins right before Districts where you've got to find your heart, figure out how to persevere and dig those ones out. 

It was good for us to see key moments where we could have been better,” the added. “Those moments can make or break you in the post-season.”