Bolivar High School boys soccer put a tough tournament in its rearview mirror last week, claiming a pair of wins to start the season’s final stretch with a positive record.
Following a shutout at the Willard Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-3, in which the Liberators lost to Webb City, Kickapoo and Marshfield, Bolivar bounced back with a 2-0 win over Marshfield on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and a 3-1 victory over Willard on Thursday, Oct. 8.
Bolivar is 8-7 on the season.
The Liberators next face 4-8 Parkview at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Springfield.
Bolivar 3, Willard 1
Facing off with a 2020 district opponent and longtime rival, Bolivar stepped up big Thursday.
“This was a huge win for our team,” coach Steve Fast said.
The 13-5 Tigers entered the contest as one of the best teams in southwest Missouri, Fast said.
“I challenged our guys to frustrate them with our style of play, and they did just that,” he said. “We came out really aggressive and relentless and surprised them with a first-half goal.”
River Adams scored Bolivar’s first point of the night, aided by Noah Tull and Zach Warwick.
Bolivar then doubled its lead in the second half with Luke Richards beating several Willard defenders to dribble the ball about 60 yards.
One-on-one with the goalkeeper, Richards fired his shot and came away with his first varsity goal.
“He had a solid hit and scored past the diving keeper,” Fast said.
The Liberators added an insurance later in the half when Trevor Nelson nailed a shot off a corner kick with an assist from Andrew Lewis.
“Willard pressed hard and got a late goal, but our defense was outstanding, only allowing one goal to a team that averages over four goals per game,” Fast said. “Our goalies were on top of their game, making some great saves.”
Trenton Arnold had nine saves. Nathan Anthony had one.
Fast said the win showed Bolivar can compete at a high level.
The Liberators are in Class 3 District 11 with Willard and Parkview. Last year, Bolivar won 2-1 over Willard in a regular season overtime thriller but lost 1-0 to the Tigers in the district tournament.
Bolivar 2, Marshfield 0
Just three days after the Liberators lost 1-0 to Marshfield, they got a second chance.
Bolivar didn’t squander the opportunity, shutting out the Jays 2-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
“This was a good bounce back game for us,” Fast said. “Our guys did good handling some adversity, as we had three starters out and had to shift around our positions and players some.”
Fast said the Liberators attacked the goal consistently hard all game and were able to get several looks.
“The Marshfield keeper made some outstanding saves to keep them in the game,” he said.
Warwick scored both of Bolivar’s goals with assists from Colton Rowe.
Defensively, Fast said Bolivar was able to hold Marshfield’s top scorer to only two shots. Anthony had three saves.