On a field filled with stars, Miriam Taylor shined the brightest on Thursday night.
Taylor’s four goals lifted the Orange squad to a 5-1 victory in the ninth annual Southwest Soccer All-star game at the Cooper Sports Complex.
“I was just coming here to have fun and if I scored a goal or two, that would be cool, but I didn’t think I’d score four,” Taylor said.
“It was a little combination of good passes from my teammates and me being in the right place at the right time.”
Taylor, from Camdenton, earned MVP honors for the Orange squad while Morgan Davidson of Ozark scored the only goal for the Yellow team and was voted team MVP.
Taylor scored the game’s first goal on a breakaway where the defender fell, leaving Taylor one-on-one with the goalie, giving the Orange team a 1-0 lead.
“She is so good at breaking down players one-on-one and she’s so quick,” Catholic coach Ben Timson said.
“I was aware of what she can do, because she’s done that to us at Catholic for the last three years.”
Davidson scored early in the second half to make the score 2-1, but Taylor answered with back-to-back breakaways to give her team a commanding 4-1 advantage with 11:02 left in the game.
Her final goal came off an assist from high school teammate Megan Weber.
“It’s sad that this is the last time we’ll play together but it was fun to have her assist on one of my goals,” Taylor said.
“If it would have been the other way around, that would have been cool, too.”
It was the first win for Timson in six tries at an all-star game (1-4-1).
“It’s fun to win, but this is just about letting the kids have one last high school experience before they go off to college,” Timson said.
“It was enjoyable to be on the winning side.”
In the boys’ game, Nic Bauer of Glendale took home MVP honors in the Yellow team’s 4-2 win by scoring the goal that proved to be the game-winner late in the first half.
“This is just a fun thing, for all of us to get together,” Bauer said.
“We all had fun and we all played different positions. It’s fun to be around a bunch of kids who can really play.”
After goals from Mitch Moncada of Catholic and Patrick Hubbard of Branson, Bauer scored at the doorstep to give the Yellow squad a 3-0 lead at halftime.
“Evan Craig played me a cross and I took a touch between two defenders, then it was just one-on-one with the goalie and I gave him a shoulder fake and slotted it far post,” Bauer said.
It was Joe Rice of Joplin who scored the Orange team’s first goal at the 33:53 mark of the second half and was voted team MVP.
Carthage’s Ismael Serratos scored a second goal for the Orange squad just over two minutes later, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Nearing the end of the game, Glendale’s Evan Garrad extinguished hopes of a comeback by the Orange team by scoring the final goal to lock up the win for Team Yellow.
“Ninety percent of these guys know each other very well and it’s a chance for them to all be together and play one last time,” Catholic coach Tom Guinn said.
“This is a great chance for them to have fun playing the game they love as apposed to being dead serious all the time.”