HILLSBORO, Mo. – Fredericktown achieved two major milestones in the evolution of its flourishing girls soccer program on Saturday afternoon.
Judging by their performance at the Hillsboro Tournament, the Lady Blackcats could have many more occasions to celebrate before their season is done.
Fredericktown frustrated Cape Central for a 3-1 triumph in the Hillsboro Tournament final, securing its first tournament title of any type.
Alivia Buxton, Arika Buxton and Alayna Buxton scored as the Lady Blackcats (13-2) broke their previous single-season record for wins with a full month of the schedule still to play.
“The seniors have worked so hard over the last four years to get here, and we’ve gotten close so many times,” Fredericktown coach D.J. McFadden said. “To see them actually bring that championship home – the first one our program has ever had – it’s a great feeling.”
Fredericktown unofficially outshot the Tigers 17-6, and dominated field position throughout the first 30 minutes to generate an early 2-0 lead.
Freshman keeper Kyndal Dodd made two saves for the win, while seniors Maddie Burrows and Kylee Bastie combined their efforts to shadow and hinder star forward Mattie Huff.
Daley Drum tallied off a strange sequence in the 39th minute for Cape Central (8-3), which nearly netted the equalizer before losing steam down the stretch.
Huff created the first quality chance of the second half by winning possession amid the Fredericktown back line. She alertly found a trailing Abbie Clippard, whose clean shot rolled inches wide of the left post.
Alivia Buxton used a creative move to beat her defender near the left sideline in the 55th minute, and released a timely pass that helped strengthen the fragile 2-1 edge.
Alayna Buxton stepped into the rolling cross from 22 yards with plenty of time, and tucked it inside the right post for her sixth goal of the spring.
Alivia Buxton tied the all-time assist mark on that play as a freshman with 12, and caused subsequent headaches for the Tigers while weaving through traffic along the deep left side.
“Every day, she does something else that just amazes me. It’s fascinating and exciting to watch her play,” McFadden said. “She’ll come out of a crowd of three or four girls with the ball. We don’t know how. She just has a knack for it. She finds her teammates and has a great feel for the game.”
Marissa Hale saw increased touches after shifting forward in the second half, and was assigned the task of taking the Lady Blackcats’ six corner kicks.
Fredericktown intensified pressure even after restoring the two-goal margin, and earned three corners over a span of four minutes. One attempt narrowly eluded a leaping Kayleigh Slinkard on the doorstep.
Macie Brinkopf notched five saves in defeat for Cape Central. She stopped an initial 20-yard drive from Alayna Buxton, who was sprung by Hale on a stretch pass.
The Lady Blackcats instantly made their presence known. Alivia Buxton struck just 38 seconds into the match, and became the first Fredericktown player to compile 20 goals in a season.
The rousing start began with a simple sideline throw from Hale to Alayna Buxton, who unleashed a diagonal pass over the opposing midfielders.
Alivia Buxton won a sprint to the ball alongside Slinkard, and poked it past the charging Brinkopf with enough force to reach the vacated net.
“That was huge. It took a little of the pressure from our shoulders right off the bat,” McFadden said. “Our midfield has done a tremendous job of controlling possession and limiting attacking opportunities this year, so we felt pretty comfortable after getting that one.”
Arika Buxton caught up with a pass from Slinkard 20 minutes later, used a subtle touch to create room and drilled a rising shot from outside of the box for her 12th of the season.
Mallory Mathes nearly created another stellar chance, but Cape blocked Slinkard and went on a fast counter attack that eventually ended with a dangerous chip over the crossbar.
The 2-0 difference nearly lasted until halftime, but Fredericktown suffered a costly giveaway as Bastie made a sliding tackle on the ball just as nearby teammate Alayna Buxton looked to dribble out.
The carom was instead controlled on the opposite side by Drum, whose bouncing kick from the perimeter of the box skipped through the hands of Dodd, who may have been partially screened.
Fredericktown was suddenly forced to refocus at intermission.
“We knew that by playing the sweeper back, they were going to attack our wings,” McFadden said. “We told the girls to just communicate really well.
“We weren’t going to change anything defensively, except to have our sweeper shade toward the side that [Huff] was on, try to take the good angles away from her and overlap. That’s what we focused on.”
Abby Parson equaled Alivia Buxton with four steals for the Lady Cats, whose schedule eases in volume this week with one solitary match against Saxony Lutheran on the docket.
Parson and the Buxton trio were each selected to the all-tournament team. Perryville defeated Hillsboro 2-1 in the third-place contest.