Lady Jays fall 3-1 to Nixa in quarterfinals

The little things added up Saturday night.

“They did the little things right, they were a little quicker to the ball, they were a little more physical than we were,” Jefferson City coach Matt Stacey said after the Lady Jays fell 3-1 to the Nixa Lady Eagles in a Class 3 quarterfinal contest at the 179 Soccer Park.

“That’s the way it goes. You figure you’re going to get everybody’s best game at this time of the year and you have to be ready to give your best back.”

The Lady Eagles’ offensive attack was seemingly relentless.

“We have so many girls that can score,” Nixa coach Evan Palmer said. “We can score a lot of different ways and we can be tough to guard when we move the ball and find the open player.”

Jefferson City jumped out to a 1-0 lead about 15 minutes into the contest. Eden Hoogveld got the goal, chipping a shot into the net after a pass from Kaley Ruff.

Nixa got the equalizer 10 minutes later. On a corner kick, Payton DeHart lined up as the last of four Nixa players in front of the goal and when Alyson Galler booted the ball, DeHart broke behind her teammates and found herself open in front of the net for the score.

“They are fast all over the place, they don’t have a slow player on field,” Stacey said.

The Lady Jays had a pair of good scoring chances go awry early in the second half that would have given them the lead, but both sailed wide of the net.

“You have to make the best of what you get,” Stacey said. “We just didn’t take advantage of everything we could have today.”

The Lady Eagles, who outshot the Lady Jays 21-9, then took the lead midway through the half on a give-and-go from DeHart to Shaylynn Thomas. Nixa added an insurance goal on a score by Jordyn Hoskins with 11 minutes remaining.

“We knew they were good, they just pushed us,” Stacey said. “I think we played very good defense this season, but this wasn’t necessarily us at our best. It was a team thing.

“Congrats to them, they were the better team on the field today.”

The Lady Eagles advance to its first Final Four starting Friday in Blue Springs. Nixa (23-3) will play Eureka (20-1-1) at 5 p.m.

The Lady Jays, who started just one senior and one junior, end their season at 17-4-1.

One senior and one junior.

“It’s a young team that’s done a lot of special things this year,” Stacey said. “We had a lot of heart, we battled a lot of adversity. Heck, we spent the first two weeks practicing in a gym. We battled back from a two-goal deficit to win the district title. We fought hard for a win on the road in the sectional.

“It was a memorable season.”

III

On the game’s final goal, Jefferson City sophomore keeper Becca Sturgess was injured on a collision with a Nixa player.

She laid on the field, being treated by medical personnel at the game before an ambulance arrived. Sturgess was taken from the field on a stretcher.

After the game, an announcement was made Sturgess was alert and was moving her extremities.

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