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Holloman, Willard best Lady Jays for district crown

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Marshfield and Willard caught a break in the rain long enough on May 19, but the top-seeded Lady Jays couldn’t stop the outpour of offense and fell in the Class 3 District 11 title game, 6-1.

Games were scheduled to be hosted by the Lady Tigers, but the waterlogged conditions initiated a move to the turf field at Parkview High School in Springfield. Start time was also moved up several hours last Wednesday afternoon.

Rain didn’t interfere until after halftime, but by that time Willard had already taken a hold of the proceedings.

Just under nine minutes in, Willard's Lauren Sears put the Lady Tigers on the board off a corner kick to take the advantage. It was doubled in almost no time through senior scoring machine Jada Holloman (Loyola-Chicago) for her first goal of the day, and Kathryn Dublin added to Marshfield's woes 14 minutes in to make it three-nil.

The Lady Jays subdued the scoring for the rest of the first half, but couldn't hold for long in the second. A giveaway left the back line split and Hannah Moore sent a chip from over 30 yards out over goalkeeper Aimsley Devoto that put Willard ahead by four with 35:20 to go. Marshfield failed to clear the ball well enough on Willard's fifth, which resulted in a second for Holloman with just over 27 minutes remaining.

Marshfield got on the board with 24:30 left when Calli Watson was played through the line and the freshman tucked it to the keeper's left.

Holloman, who surpassed the half-century scoring mark for the year, rounded out a hat trick in fine fashion with an incredible solo effort as 16:12 remained.

Victory gave Willard (10-14) its first district title going back-to-back in 2014-15 and a place in Tuesday's Class 3 sectionals against Webb City.

“We knew the challenge ahead of us and that Jada was really, really good, and that if we gave them the opportunity they would take care of business,” Marshfield head coach Paul Lewis said. “We tried to mark her with Riley Manary, and she did a great job, but hats off to them. [Jada] scored all the goals against Parkview [in the district semifinal] and you have to be concerned about her –– she’s our Calli –– and we tried to keep her in front of us.”

Although it was difficult to put aside the disappointment in coming short of lifting first-place silverware, it was overall an incredibly successful season for the Jays, who finished with 17 wins, their most in a decade.

“You’re playing for a district championship, and this could be the start of maybe doing this over and over for a while,” Lewis said. “We lose some very good seniors –– [Hayes] and Reagan [Smith], and we lost Harper [Coltrane] at the beginning of the year –– but we’ll learn from the experience, take our youth and try to get better at it.”

Of the year, junior Hayleigh Cantrell said, “If you’d asked me if we’d be 17-8 this season I’d have told you there’s no way. All these girls are new –– I was the only returning varsity starter –– and all that they’ve learned this year, you couldn’t do it with another group.”

“The result we had here today, I’m very, very proud of it. I’d have never thought we’d have been here.”

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