Early goals dash Dutchgirl soccer district title hopes

Will Johnson
Sports Editor

SULLIVAN — Early goals are often tough to overcome.

Jordan Palmer’s Owensville Dutchgirl soccer team found this out the hard way Monday night during the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 2, District 9 tournament championship game against St. Clair’s Lady Bulldogs.

Falling behind 2-0 in the first 13 minutes of the match, OHS could only manage a Destinee Busenhart goal at the 18:43 mark of the first half.

Seeing St. Clair score again with 12:30 until halftime, Owensville could not find the back of the net before seeing their record-breaking season end at 14-6 following a 3-1 loss to the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs at Sullivan High School.

“I’m proud of our girls for playing their hearts out and never giving up,” Palmer said. “They scored two early goals on us. It could’ve been a drastically different game had we not done that.”

Busenhart got the first shot on goal in the match only to have it stopped by St. Clair goalie Courtney Williams four minutes into the match.

“We were able to test their keeper a little bit but she came up with some big saves,” Palmer said.

Near the 34:00 mark of the opening half, three consecutive corner kicks for St. Clair led to Lady Bulldog freshman Kaitlyn Janson scoring the first goal of the game at the 33:28 mark of the half.

Following another Busenhart shot on goal that was stopped by Williams, another St. Clair corner kick led to a goal.

With 26:41 for the opening half, Makayla Johnson scored off a Chloe Merseal corner kick doubling St. Clair’s lead to 2-0 near the midway point of the first half of the district title match.

“I thought we were ready from the beginning,” St. Clair head girls soccer coach Tim Isgrig said. “We jumped on them pretty early and were able to limit them to the one goal.”

Denied on two previous shots, Busenhart made her third one count.

Off a deflection by Williams, Busenhart pushed one past the Lady Bulldog keeper cutting St. Clair’s lead in half to 2-1 with 18:43 until halftime.

“Destinee picked up the garbage on a set piece and got us back in the game,” Palmer said. 

Just over six minutes later, Johnson scored her second goal for St. Clair giving the Lady Bulldogs their two-goal lead back at 3-1 with 12:30 until halftime.

With neither team unable to get a shot on goal the rest of the opening half, Owensville went into halftime trailing the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs 3-1.

Managing shots on goal by Emma Reed and Anna Finley in the second half, OHS could not find the back of the net before seeing their season end with a school record 14 wins compared to six losses.

“Sometime opportunities fall for the other team and not yours,” Palmer said. “That’s what is cool about this game. Anything can happen at any given time.”

Owensville Dutchgirl soccer players contributing to their record-breaking 14-6 season included the senior quartet of Heather Hoffman, Carli McCurry, Christyna Zheng and Alexis Altemeyer.

Juniors that will look to lead OHS back to the district title game next spring include Marissa West-Derby, Jazz Marquez, Madison Steever, Emma Reed, Erika Lauer and Busenhart.

Sophomores on the Dutchgirl soccer roster include Katelyn Landolt, Libby Korman, Kaitlyn Nelson, Elena Ortega and Luci Angell.

Freshman getting to taste a district championship match in their first year of Dutchgirl soccer include Leah Reed, Cami Gray, Nina Baker and Anna Finley.

“Owensville has come so far in the past few years,” Isgrig said. “They’ve had a great season and we have a lot of respect for them.”

St. Clair advances to host MSHSAA Class 2 girls sectional action on Saturday against either Logan-Rogersville or Cassville.

Among Owensville’s 14 wins, two of those have come to schools that are playing for district tournament titles.

Those teams are Wright City (C2D8) and Laquey (C1D5).