By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. — Final 12 months, the Willard Tigers ended Bolivar’s season in district play. On Wednesday evening, the Liberators returned the favor.
Junior midfielder Andrew Lewis scored the game-winner within the 51st minute and sophomore keeper Trenton Arnold recorded a shutout as Bolivar beat Willard 1-0 within the Class 3 District 11 championship at John F. Kennedy Stadium.
“I cherished our togetherness,” mentioned Bolivar coach Steve Quick. “They talked to one another, they coached one another on the sphere, lifted one another up and inspired one another. They only performed properly collectively.”
The district title is Bolivar’s first since 2011-12, when it defeated Rogersville 1-0 and superior so far as the state quarterfinals.
Wednesday’s victory was additionally Bolivar’s second over Willard this season. The Liberators additionally beat Willard 3-1 a month in the past.
“Our guys simply play Willard very well,” mentioned Quick. “Willard’s an excellent group. They’ve had an ideal season this 12 months. We knew we had been going to should play on the prime of our sport to get by them tonight.”
Willard dominated ball-control a lot of the evening. The Tigers outshot Bolivar 13-7 and stored stress on Arnold and the Liberators protection. However each time Arnold was examined, he was prepared.
“He was superior,” Quick mentioned. “Top-of-the-line video games I’ve seen him play.”
After a scoreless first half, Bolivar put some scoreboard stress on Willard early within the second. Within the 51st minute, Lewis collected a go proper of the objective and volleyed it into the online.
“It was an ideal play by my teammates,” Lewis mentioned. “We labored the ball down the sphere, and the ball was positioned into the field. I knew to pound it up within the air. However the entire play was a group effort.”
Willard had three golden possibilities to equalize late however Arnold and the Bolivar protection answered every problem.
Within the 61st minute, Arnold used a diving cease to snuff an try from Bolivar’s Will Johnson. Eight minutes later, Jessee Owens had a glance from the highest of the field, just for Arnold to safe one other lunging cease. Within the 73rd, Shea Spirk tried to attach from 30 yards out, however his blast rose above the objective and hit the crossbar on the goalposts.
“He was nice,” Lewis mentioned of Arnold. “I couldn’t ask for a greater goalkeeper.”
Added Quick: “On these large saves late, I simply held my breath and thought, ’not now.”
Bolivar will now face Neosho within the Class 3 sectionals on Saturday.