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With McClain in the middle of Lady Eagles' attack, Palmer calls her 'our motor'


On her way to 17 assists entering Nixa’s Class 5 Quarterfinal match at Blue Springs today, Sam McClain points out her teammates deserve an assist by setting her up for success.

The sophomore center-midfielder has come to fully expect the Lady Eagles’ defenders to pass the ball to her in a good spot and for their forwards to be where she passes the ball.

“It all comes from the defense. They give me the ball and I try to find the forwards,” McClain said. “Most of the time, I look up and they know where to make the runs and I try to find them.”

Growing up, McClain quickly found a home at center-midfield.

“That's my job, to find my teammates up front. It's always been my strength,” she said.

Nixa coach Evan Palmer feels McClain pulls the proverbial trigger on many fronts for the Lady Eagles.

“She is our motor, she is what makes this team go,” Palmer said. “She has such a will to win every ball and she usually does. She covers so much ground the other team's players can't keep up with her. She sees the field so well and in the middle she wins so many balls. 

"Sam's intensity rubs off on the other players, which helps our team get to the level we need to take over games,” he added. “We would not be where we are without her.”

“She's really good at distributing the ball and has unlimited energy,” forward London Kirk said. “She runs up and down the field constantly. She doesn't give up.”

McClain and forward Shaelee Franck share a connection as teammates for as long as they can remember.

“We've literally known each other forever. She's my 'other person,’” Franck said. “We work so well together. Every game she's finding me the perfect ball. I love playing with her. I always want to be on her team.”