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story.lead_photo.caption Helias forward Luke Hynes heads the ball to try and control it with pressure from a couple Nixa players during Saturday's game at the Crusader Athletic Complex. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

The Helias Crusaders believe they had the better of the play Saturday afternoon.

It just didn't show up on the scoreboard. Some days, that's the story of soccer.

"Ultimately, it's why it's the beautiful game," Helias coach Jay Hebenheimer said after the Crusaders dropped a 1-0 decision to the Nixa Eagles at the Crusader Athletic Complex. "That should have been a different scoreline, absolutely.

"Some days the ball just doesn't bounce your way."

Helias appeared to get an early goal Saturday when Sam Thompson scored off a crossing pass by Luke Hynes in the opening two minutes. But the goal was waved off after the Crusaders were called for offside.

"Luke had three or four really good crossing passes that we weren't able to convert on today," Hebenheimer said.

The game was scoreless at the half. It took less than a minute for that to change in the second half as Andrew Butler of the Eagles converted on a drive to the net.

"Unmarked running through the box, the guys just checked out for a second," Hebenheimer said. "When you make those small mental lapses, the same thing we saw against Jefferson City earlier this week and the same thing we broke down on film this week, ultimately, it will beat you.

"So back to the drawing board."

That seemed to put a spark into the Crusaders, who had four shots on goal in the next four minutes, including one off the cross bar by Sam Conley.

"We are at the time of the season that the goals should come easy for us with the way we are building," Hebenheimer said. "But for some reason, we are having a hard time finding the back of the net."

The Crusaders had 13 total shots in the second half, including eight on goal. But Nixa keeper Nick Reid was able to turn Helias away.

"He was on the ball quick, his positioning was good," Hebenheimer said.

It was the final scheduled home game of the season for the Crusaders (8-8). Helias is slated to play Wednesday at Hickman and Thursday at Fatima before closing the regular season a week from Monday at School of the Osage.

"We have three games left to figure out what team we are going to be in the postseason," Hebenheimer said. "We're going to get back to work this week.

"If this game doesn't put a fire in the guys, I'm not sure what's going to."

There was no JV game Saturday.

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