Camdenton’s quick offensive surge delivers win over Osage
After a scoreless first half at School of the Osage Wednesday night, Camdenton junior Alli Johns and the Lakers decided to change the tune.
Just four minutes after kickoff to start the second, Johns scored a pair of goals and delivered an assist in the next nine minutes and the visiting Lakers walked off the pitch with a 4-1 win.
“We just knew we had to play our game and once we possess and play our game, we can control the field,” Johns said. “That felt good going out in the second half knowing we had possession.”
It began with a set piece just outside the 18-yard box when Johns sent the ball to freshman Zoe Lockhert who finished the free kick on a shot inside the box. Just 40 seconds later, Johns made it 2-0 on a 25-yard shot that floated over the hands of Osage junior keeper Haley Fowler. The junior secured her second goal in the 53rd minute on an assist from junior Alexa Rapier at the top of the box and the Lakers completed their offensive onslaught nearly two minutes later when junior Gracie Coffelt finished a rebound.
“I love playing with all these girls. It is fun because you never know who is going to score,” Johns noted. “It is rewarding to me and the other girls because we are so close and know how each other works. It just feels good and we get to share the joy no matter who scores.”
Well, Johns can probably take a little bit of credit.
Including Wednesday night’s game, the junior has scored 11 goals and dished our four assists in 15 total games so far this season. That includes a pair of hat tricks and of the team’s 24 total goals scored so far this year, Johns has played a role in 15 of them- or about 62 percent.
“Alli is really starting to figure it out for us, goal scoring especially,” Camdenton coach Tyler Sevon said. “We got Olivia Brown back tonight from injury and that really helps us get going. As soon as we can get Ella Smith back and a coulee of our pieces healthy, hopefully we can get Alli going even more.”
It did not help matters for Osage that the Indians were without a substitute Wednesday night, but Coach Jason Long didn’t point to fatigue and noted that his club did a fairly good job of keeping up with the visiting Lakers. Rather, it was the positioning that had him concerned and he said a player like Johns will quickly take advantage.
“If I was that player, I would be taking advantage of the center of the field, too. We tried different things to get more of an attack going, but when players won’t play their positions it leaves holes on the field and the system falls apart,” the coach stated.
“That has kind of been the story of our season this year. We give up a goal and then it turns into three before we decide we are going to play soccer again.”
But, there was some fight from the home team.
Osage junior Marley Corpe nearly finished a shot with six minutes left in the first half when she got behind the defense and was thwarted on a point blank save by Camdenton senior keeper Sydney Smith. Staring at a 4-0 deficit, there was some life down the stretch, too, as the Indians put together a number of scoring opportunities in the final 18 minutes.
A corner kick from freshman Grace Larson was nearly finished by Corpe as the ball sailed over the crossbar, a 25-yard free kick from Larson to the upper left corner of the goal was saved by Smith, freshman Lexi Porter had a clear breakaway inside the box that resulted in a shot being saved by Smith and sophomore Alyssa Newberry sent a ball just outside the post in a one-on-one battle with Smith.
“I think if you compare the girls who are playing now to what you saw a couple of years ago, I think most of them are getting a lot better. Their understanding of position and playing the game is better,” Long noted. “We aren to always looking to play it forward, kick it long and play over the top chip ball. More so, we are trying to possess the ball and get good goal scoring opportunities, which we had and just did not capitalize on. If we capitalize on those, the score could have easily been a 1-point game or tied by the end.”
The Indians managed to capitalize on one of those opportunities with just under six minutes left in the contest. A free kick just outside the box from Corpe found the feet of Larson inside the 6-yard box and she blasted the ball to the lower right corner. It was the young freshman’s 11th goal of the season in just the 14th game of her high school career.
“She does a fantastic job of getting shots on goal and is our leading scorer,” Long said, also noting the freshman’s speed. “Fantastic, technically, but there are things we need to focus on and fix throughout the whole team.”
One of the things the coach would like to see improvement on is better possession and Long said some of that may come from taking a few more touches and letting play develop. Then, there is the speed of play and timing issues on the attack. The coach emphasized how important it was for his roster of just 13 players to stay positive as the team fell to 6-8 on the season. Up next is a visit to Crocker (7-3) on Monday at 5 p.m.
“We cannot get down on ourselves because we are playing at a disadvantage every time we step on the field with teams that are full roster,” he stated. “I don’t want to make that an excuse, though. I want to be able to go out there with 11 players and say we can play against anyone in the state. We are not quite there yet, obviously, so we have work to do.
“It may not be this season, but I think the girls that stick with it and come back for future seasons will get better. We started the same way with the boys three years ago and I think they are doing fantastic now,” he continued. “It is going to be a work in progress. It is not going to happen overnight or happen on its own.”
Besides giving up the late goal, it was a solid night for Camdenton (9-6). Sevon is not too worried about that, though.
“We let up a little late and didn’t mark in the box, but overall we’ve been pretty solid back there even though we are really young,” the coach said. “We start three freshmen on the back line, but we’ve been really solid so we are happy with that.”
The main goal for the Lakers is to regain full strength as the season continues on with a scheduled home game against Rolla (6-6) on Thursday and a visit to Lebanon (9-5) on Friday at 6 p.m.
“We just have to get healthy and take care of our bodies because we keep playing every day it feels like,” Sevon said. “Get healthy and get a rhythm going before districts.”
Well, Johns certainly feels things are heading in that direction.
“We have a lot of things we need to work on, but we are a fun group and we have fun training on the field,” she said. “It helps with our chemistry and bonding, so, it just comes together.”
It was Senior Night at Osage where the team honored a trio of seniors including Claire Bellamy who unfortunately could not play due to injury. She still got to see the field, though, when she was briefly subbed in and got to kick off the second half before being helped back to the sideline by teammates.
The annual battle between these two Lake area schools features players who know each other quite well, considering Camdenton and Osage are just 16 miles apart. It is a competition Johns looks forward to.
“We know each other so it is fun to get out and have a healthy competition with each other,” the junior said.
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com or 573-346-2132