Log in

Minus injured 'keeper Linnebur, Ozark ousted in overtime in District opener

OZARK'S ANNABELLE KRUSE gains control of the ball in front of Republic defenders Saturday.
OZARK'S ANNABELLE KRUSE gains control of the ball in front of Republic defenders Saturday.

REPUBLIC — Playing without injured goalkeeper Kaylee Linnebur, Ozark took Republic to overtime before falling 4-3 in Class 5 District 6 opening-round action Saturday.

Republic scored the game-winner two minutes into the extra period. A week earlier, Ozark fell to Republic 1-0 in overtime.

In between the teams’ two matches, Ozark met Carthage to complete their COC schedules and regular-season slates. During that match, Linnebur suffered what coach Zack Owens fears may be a torn ACL. She suffered a torn ACL as a sophomore.

“We had a team breakfast this morning and (Linnebur) was there. The girls were great, trying to rally around her,” Owens said. “The girls were ready and had Kaylee in their thoughts.”

With Linnebur at goalie, Ozark (15-11) yielded an average of 1.3 goals a match this season and was 12-0 when scoring three goals or more. Dating back to 2022, Ozark had won 30 straight matches when reaching three goals.

Without Linnebur, Ozark wasn’t able to quite keep pace with Republic. 

Republic’s winning goal came on the heels of Ozark’s Addi Shuler being shoved from behind and pushed to the ground following a scrum for a loose ball. As Owens yelled for a penalty, Republic quickly worked the ball downfield and scored.

“It seemed like a missed call, but those happen. ” Owens said of the no-call. “Whether they scored that goal or not, I believe it was a missed call. I want to make sure people understand we try to coach our girls to play through those kind of things and not leave it in the hands of the officials. Referees are human and clearly they make mistakes. Sometimes and in this situation, (a mistake) ends your season.

“Well done on Republic's part,” he added. “No whistle and they took it down and capitalized.”

Ozark forced overtime by tying things up at 3 on a goal from Annabelle Kruse with 10:41 remaining.

Kruse scored in the first half to tie the score at 1. A Shuler second-half goal gave Ozark its only lead at 2-1.

Even in defeat, Owens was happy how his players responded to the post-season, calling it one of their better efforts on the season.

“We talked about this being our culminating event and now is when we've really got to execute in the moment that we're given,” he said. “We did that today.”

Ozark will return the majority of its starters next season and will also have members of its 17-1 jayvee from this year make the transition to varsity ball.

“We have their buy-in. The future is bright,” Owens said.

In another first round match, Nixa (20-1) whipped Neosho 9-0. Shaelee Franck, Johnson both netted a pair of goals while London Kirk, Brooke Teter, Avery Bishop, Bailey Snyder and Anahi Lozano all had one goal.

The Lady Eagles, who have won 16 in a row, will face Republic (17-6) in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Wednesday.