March 23, 2018 — Excelsior Springs girls soccer hosted Oak Grove Panthers for their home opener on Monday, March 19. In their previous game against Smithville Warriors, Tigers senior Josie Rimmer obtained her first hat-trick of the season, but the Tigers ended up losing 4-3.
Even though the game was being played on an overcast day, the stadium was filled with supporters for the Tigers. Head coach Zac Ganzer hyped the team up in their huddle seconds before the game started, which started them off on the right foot.
Once the start whistle was blown, the Tigers immediately showed high pressure on-the-ball and off-the-ball defense.
Oak Grove tried to complete long through balls to their right wing, but was stopped by senior Anna Foster. Foster kicked the ball out of bounds, forcing the Panthers to throw it into play.
As Rimmer dribbled the ball up the field, her head remained up, looking for a good pass to complete. Rimmer couldn’t make an easy pass to any of her wing players and had to work the defender to create space. Rimmer created the gap and released all the power she had for an off-balance shot that resulted in the first goal of the game. The Tigers were up 1-0.
Sophomore Faith Niesen stole the ball at midfield and ran the sideline while she looked for Rimmer. Rimmer got away from her defender at the top of the box and received the pass from Niesen. Rimmer turned to take a shot on goal which beat the keeper resulting in another Tiger goal. Tigers headed into halftime up 2-0.
In hopes of scoring within the second half, the Panthers’ passes were connecting as they advanced up the field.
Tiger’s sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Carder came out of the goal in an attempt to make a save, but was beat by the Panthers’ forward. The Panthers had a chance to score after getting past the goalie, but senior Kimberlyn Snelling was there to stop the ball followed by a quick clearance.
No goals were scored by either team in the second half, but Rimmer approached her second hat-trick of the season, falling short by one goal. Rimmer’s two goals and Tigers defensive players Carder, Foster and Snelling helped the Tigers to finish the game with a 2-0 victory.