Despite cold, windy conditions Thursday, Glendale High school junior goalkeeper Kindra Lierz knew she had to be loose and active throughout.
That’s because her Nixa opponents have a talented group of attacking players who use through balls as one of their main weapons.
Lierz was equal to the challenge in the nonleague game as Glendale earned a 3-1 victory, further exerting its dominance as the area’s top Class 3 program.
Nixa, which has played girls soccer since 1998, has never beaten Glendale (11-2), although the talent levels of the teams have been comparable of late.
Lierz was a big part of Thursday’s difference, as she stifled a handful of Nixa rushes by coming out of her own penalty area, particularly in the first half.
“I’ve been taught over the past couple years that I need to stay off my line,” Lierz said. “But I still have to be connected to my team and stay close enough to be able to get back when I need to.
“But tonight we had good communication in the back. I had their backs, and I knew they had mine.”
Lierz made just four saves, but those early plays kept the dangerous Lady Eagles (10-3) at bay.
“She had to be (active),” Glendale coach Jeff Rogers said. “They have all those girls up there with those quick feet, and both teams were playing pretty direct.”
Thus, despite Nixa carrying most of the play early with the strong wins at its back, Glendale still went to halftime with a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Kenzie Robbins took a long ball from Kasey Opfer, touched it past the goalkeeper and converted on Glendale’s only great chance of the first 40 minutes.
“We were a little undisciplined, especially in the first half when we had possession up top, and the ball would stop,” Nixa coach Evan Palmer said. “And also, we need to get it wide a little bit more. When you get it in the middle, and everything collapses, let’s get it wide, get that cross in, but then you have to be dedicated to finish the cross.”
Shortly after halftime, in the 46th minute, Annie Powell put Glendale up by two goals, converting off a corner kick from Abby Greene.
Forty seconds later, Nixa’s Bailey Pesek finished a cross from Paige Townsend to draw within 2-1, as Nixa finally got it wide like Palmer wanted.
The Glendale defense would hold strong in the second half, though, and not allow any more strong Nixa chances.
Opfer sealed the Glendale victory in the 70th minute with a penalty kick, beating Lexi Stagner, who made four saves.
Glendale is scheduled to play two games Saturday in the Jefferson City Capital City Invitational, but weather could jeopardize that trip, Rogers said.
Nixa has a rivalry matchup coming Thursday at home against Ozark.
The Lady Eagles could get another shot at Glendale in district play.
“These girls have it in them,” Palmer said. “That’s what frustrating, and that’s why I’m so upset. They still haven’t committed as a group for 80 minutes, or whatever it takes, to win.
“It’s frustrating because we have the talent.”