The Cassville Wildcat soccer team will be looking to repeat as district champions when they take on Bolivar this Friday in the Class 2, District 5 championship game at Bolivar High School.
The match-up mirrors last year's district championship game, which the Wildcats won 2-1 and then went on to place fourth in the state.
Cassville advanced to this year's district final match by defeating rival Monett 2-1 in a closely fought game. The win avenged the Wildcats' three earlier season losses.
In the semi-final game on Monday night, it was the Cubs that took the early lead. Monett's Maurice Trujillo scored on a free kick in the opening 15 minutes of play.
With only minutes left in the first half, Cassville's leading scorer Uziel Franco hit the back of the net to even the game at 1-1.
The second half featured a back-and-forth struggle, and the game seemed destined for overtime when junior Bryan Schroeder took a deflected pass and put the ball into the net for the go-ahead goal. Schroeder's score came just four minutes before the end of the second half and proved to be the difference maker.
"I am very proud of our players who worked hard all game, never giving up to finally beat Monett this year," said Coach Brian Wilbanks.
In the opening round of district play, the Wildcats, the tournament's third seed, easily defeated a young West Plains team by a score of 6-0.
Franco scored all six of Cassville's goals with assists credited to Otto Franco and Luis Ortega. Senior goalkeeper Michael Rush was credited with the shutout.
The Wildcat strikers finished out their regular season schedule with a 10-0 thrashing of College Heights and a narrow 1-0 victory over Ozark.
In the College Heights game, Franco again scored six goals while Jesus Rivera, Schroeder, Caleb Wilbanks and Colby Reavis scoring one goal each. Assists were credited to Franco and Nashe Lugeanbeal.
Against Ozark, Matt Angel scored Cassville's lone goal off a deflected corner kick.
In junior varsity action this past week, Cassville defeated College Heights 3-0. Sue had two goals and BJ McGuffey had one.
The Wildcat varsity team's record now stands at 17-6. The district championship game between Cassville and Bolivar is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Bolivar High School soccer field.