The Monett Cubs soccer team had a soggy bus ride home from Springfield, and they didn’t mind at all.
Monett defeated Springfield Catholic for the first time in four tries to advance to the playoff quarterfinals in Class 2. The Monett players rejoiced with their fans after the 1-0 win in a game that was moved to Kickapoo’s Pottenger Stadium due to heavy rain making Catholic’s field unfit for play.
Cubs senior defender Sean Jastal got a big hug from coach Cristobal Villa as Monett celebrated advancing.
“We’ve been working at this for four years. All he said was, ‘we did it,’ and really that’s all he had to say — endless work for this moment and for a senior year, as a captain, for it to pay off, I couldn’t be any happier,” Jastal said.
Junior Carlos Izaquirre scored the game-winning goal in the 44th minute, just four minutes after the halftime break. Freshman Jason Puente took the ball on a sliding tackle on the right wing and delivered a cross to an open Izaquirre, who found the back of the net.
Monett’s defense held on for a win over a team that had previously reached the final four seven consecutive years.
“We lost three times to them. Our dreams went down three years,” Villa said. “Unfortunately, both teams can’t go on.”
The Irish (17-9) led Monett (22-4) in shots on goal 6-3, and had two more shots hit the goalposts. Monett goalkeeper Valentin Vizcaino made a save on a header off a corner kick in the 74th minute that represented Catholic’s best chance to force a tie and overtime.
“We started at the beginning of the season and we had dreams, we had goals,” Villa said. “The way we come out here and take care of business against a good team, Springfield Catholic, you just feel so good to come out here and beat them tonight.”
Catholic coach Mike Hines said the outcome came down to the Irish struggling on offense, but credited the Cubs for forcing some of those struggles.
“We didn’t finish our chances. We hit the post a couple of times, their keeper made a hell of a save there at the end, I thought that was a goal,” Hines said. “You tip your hat and say congratulations to Monett.”
Hines acknowledged Monett’s rate of work on an artificial turf field that drained well, but was squishy in spots.
“(Monett) just worked really hard. They didn’t do anything special, they just worked really hard,” Hines said. “Welcome to soccer, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
Monett advances to face Southern Boone (24-1-1), which beat Fatima 2-0 Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals. The Cubs are scheduled to play at Ashland on Oct. 31 at a time to be determined.