FREDERICKTOWN – Kayleigh Slinkard was rewarded twice for her persistence on Tuesday after initial drives were deflected before reaching their intended destinations.
The junior forward cleaned up two rebounds in the box during the first half, and contributed four goals overall as the Fredericktown girls soccer team increased its single-season record for victories.
Sophomore Arika Buxton completed her own hat trick on a disputed tally in the late moments, and the Lady Blackcats routed visiting Sikeston 10-1.
Fredericktown produced 40 shots and controlled possession as solid pressure from its midfielders gave the opposition limited space to dribble out.
Sikeston nearly produced an early equalizer following a foul, but a 20-yard free kick by senior Emily Boyd slammed off the crossbar in the eighth minute.
The Lady Blackcats staged a counter push with freshman Alivia Buxton juking away from traffic before spotting Abby Parson nearby. Mallory Mathes tracked down a forward ball from Parson, and buried a pinpoint rising strike from 15 yards away for a 2-0 lead.
This breakout spring has offered plenty to celebrate for the Lady Blackcats (19-3), who will embark on an enormous upgrade in competition during the Class 2, District 1 tournament.
Fredericktown drew the lowest seed in the four-team bracket despite its unprecedented run of success, and will face state power Cape Notre Dame on Monday in Perryville, Mo.
The availability of Parson may be in question. She was carried to the bench with seven minutes remaining after appearing to collide knees with a Sikeston defender.
Tuesday marked the home finale for seven seniors unless the Lady Blackcats can add the district crown to their previous Hillsboro Tournament title, thus earning a state playoff berth.
The Bulldogs (5-16) had another possible tally erased by an offside call after finding room behind the Fredericktown back line on a couple of occasions in the first half.
But they simply could not equal the offensive firepower of the Lady Cats, who poured in five more goals before halftime to establish a 7-0 cushion.
Slinkard received a pass from Parson in the middle, then neatly turned and slid the ball to a cutting Arika Buxton for her first goal of the game.
You have free articles remaining.
Boyd blocked a dangerous shot by Mathes that Sikeston keeper Lydia Hodgkiss briefly had her gloves on. Slinkard nudged the ball loose and freed her right foot from a tangle to find the open net.
Slinkard opened the scoring on a similar second chance just 97 seconds in. Her redirection of a cross from Arika Buxton was stymied by Hodgkiss, who could not react in time to stop the next shot.
The Lady Blackcats played nearly 25 minutes before taking their first corner, and narrowly missed headers on two occasions when Marissa Hale placed the ball on target.
But they converted two other dazzling headers during the flow of action. Parson tallied her lone goal at 5-0 off a feed from Alivia Buxton, who curled away from pressure on a quick step after Kylee Bastie stepped forward to hold ground and prolong the threat on a clean steal.
A pass from Alayna Buxton toward the left side of the box enabled Alivia Buxton to net her team-leading 29th of the season after eluding a challenge from Hodgkiss in the 35th minute.
Slinkard collected her third of the day 53 seconds later, heading in a long diagonal from freshman Maddy Mathes toward the back post.
Kyndal Dodd saved three of four incoming shots for the win, and provided her best stop with a leaping catch of a 20-yard drive early in the second half.
Bulldogs freshman Kelsie Anderson caused the Fredericktown defense some concern with her speed an ability to spark counter rushes in open spaces.
She eventually cashed in after arriving first to a long clear down the right sideline, and cutting wide of an approaching Dodd to finish a rolling shot after her team trailed 9-0 in the 59th minute.
Arika Buxton resumed second-half scoring with an unassisted strike off a Sikeston giveaway, and capped the barrage on her 23rd of the year from Mathes with 5:17 to play as the ball trickled past the goal line.
Slinkard earlier tallied her fourth goal of the game and 19th overall as the culmination of a counter that originated from a steal by Maddie Burrows deep in the defensive zone.
Alayna Buxton sprang Slinkard in stride with a midfield pass to generate her second assist. She is one goal away from giving the Lady Cats six players in double digits.
Fredericktown could have invoked an earlier conclusion if not for two separate chances that caught iron from close range.