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Playing in pain, Green still able to collect hat trick in Eagles' first-round District rout


Lucas Green continued to add to his career-high goals count Monday, while continuing to cope with pain in his kicking leg.

Green notched a hat trick in No. 3 seed Nixa’s 6-0 triumph against No. 6 Neosho in a Class 4 District 5 first-round match.

The senior forward now has 19 goals, after having seven as a junior.

Green has thrived, even while hindered by throbbing pain in the thigh of his left leg.

“I've been playing with quad issues the whole season, after I had a hamstring injury the whole summer,” Green said. “I can feel (pain) in my leg when I hit (the ball). It stings through my whole leg.”

Goals, of course, help his pain tolerance considerably.

“I can feel (the pain) is keeping me back sometimes. Sometimes, I can't sprint to my fullest or get my shot through all the way,” Green said. “I’ve missed some chances. I've been missing with my power shot. But I've been pulling through thanks to KT tape and therapy. I play through (the pain). You've got to keep going.”

Green was able to put plenty of power into his second goal Monday. 

"I hit it perfectly,” he said.

“That second goal was phenomenal,” Nixa coach Evan Palmer said. “It was a rocket. The goalie just froze, what could he do about it?”

Green and forward/midfielder Caeden Cloud, who found the back of the net once to up his goals count to 21 on the season, make for an exceptionally potent duo. They give the Eagles two of the most powerful kickers in SWMO.

“They both can finish,” Palmer said. 

“He's got a super strong left leg, even though he’s been dealing with some leg issues,” Cloud said of Green. “I’m glad to see him perform in a big game like this. He’s been a lot more composed this year. His final touch and shot have been better, leading to more goals. I hope he can keep it up.”

Palmer has been pleased how Green has responded to being put in position to kick straight at the goal, rather than at an angle.

“He liked to hang out on the wing a lot before. We've moved him toward the middle and he's done a good job adjusting to that,” Palmer said. “He’s going to goal now instead of being at the side and crossing the ball. We needed Lucas pushing 20 goals this season and hopefully we'll get him over that 20 mark.”

Nixa also received a goal apiece from Gavin Ward and Jake McClain.

The Eagles (15-8) have won four of their last five matches and are 12-3 after a 3-5 start.

“You experiment at the beginning of the season and along the way you usually figure it out,” Palmer said. “We did and have had a really good second half of the season. The guys have worked their butts off. It's been great to see them develop and have a chance to shine.”

Nixa advances to meet No. 2 seed Glendale (16-7) in a semifinal at 7 p.m Thursday. The Falcons edged the Eagles 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 9.

Nixa has lost four straight to Glendale, with two of those matches decided by penalty kicks.

This will be the first Nixa-Glendale matchup in the post-season since 2013.

“I'm excited for the challenge,” Cloud said. “If we play our game, I think we'll be good. It should be a great match. They have some good guys on top and are quick. (Midfielder) Carson Titsworth has got a strong leg and is super quick. He'll be a task.”

“I know a lot of them. They're solid,” Green said. “Hopefully, we can put up a good match against them.”