The Rolla girls' soccer team (15-4-1) capped off their regular season by hosting Osage (7-14) on Thursday, May 11. After both teams were held scoreless at the half, Morgan Gabriele was able to score three goals for the Lady Bulldogs to win a rain shortened game 3-0.
Rolla spent almost the entire first half in their offensive zone, but they couldn't find a way to crack the Osage defense. They Lady Indians packed things in and closed off the passing lanes, which made things tough for Rolla. On top of facing contested passing lanes, the Lady Bulldogs were just a hair off on their touches, so they missed out on some opportunities to get a clean shot on goal.
As the first half wore on, Rolla finally got a couple of great looks. The first came on a corner kick by Addy Brow. The corner was redirected by multiple Lady Bulldogs, but Osage was able to keep the ball out of the net to keep the game tied at nothing. A couple minutes later, Gabriele had a break away chance, but her shot soared over the net and the game remained scoreless at the half.
Gabriele's run at the end of the half was a predecessor for what would come in the second half and Rolla didn't need much time to prove that. Gabriele netted the first goal of the game in a crowded keeper zone in the 49th minute. She scored off a pass from Kendall Mara. The Rolla chances came much more consistently in the second half, as Gabriele scored again in the 64th minute with an assist from Olivia Gonzales.
As the game wore on, the weather started to worsen. The rain started to come down in the second half and it got worse throughout the half. With the skies opened up, Gabriele knocked in her third goal of the game with a perfect corner kick finding the back of the net in the 75th minute. The game didn't last much longer after the goal, as lightning struck and the game was called.
Rolla head coach Mike Howard liked the way his players fought through the frustratingly tough Osage defense.
"We tried a little bit of everything in the first half. We moved Addy and 'G' out wide to the outside mids to try and find some space for them," said coach Howard. "Credit to Osage, they came in very organized and they made it hard for our girls. Any time we got down here there were nine people in the box, so it was a little frustrating for them, but you've just gotta keep plugging away and once you break through you then you usually see some goals start falling for you.
Howard continued, "It's great for 'G' to score a hat trick there and kinda bail us out, because we were struggling."
Despite the loss, Osage head coach Angie Libby was incredibly proud of the fight in her team.
"If we persevere, if we keep playing those tough teams, if we keep showing up, if we keep working together even through the tough times, if we can constantly constantly communicate and work with each other on the field, that's what's going to happen," said coach Libby. "I'm so so so very amazingly proud of my girls today. Not just how we individually worked hard, but how we worked as a unit, as a whole team. It was phenomenal."
This sets both teams up for Districts, which kick off for each school on Monday, May 15. Rolla will took to get revenge on Union, who beat the Lady Bulldogs 3-0 earlier this season, when they make the trip down to Washington at 6:45 p.m. Osage will not see a team as good as Rolla in their District, but they'll open up against a school right down I-44 when the Lady Indians face St. James up at Southern Boone at 5 p.m.