The Rolla High School boys' soccer team set up a showdown for the Ozark Conference championship next week by clipping Springfield Kickapoo 3-2 on the road Thursday.
The Bulldogs improve to 20-2 overall and 7-1 in the conference.
On Tuesday Rolla will host Joplin in its regular-season finale at Kiwanis Field (4:30 p.m.) with a chance to earn a share of the OC championship. Joplin comes into Tuesday 18-3 overall and 8-0 in the league.
On Thursday Rolla jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by senior forwards Hunter Short and Aaron Froehlich. Froehlich and Short assisted on each other's goal.
The Chiefs closed the gap in the second half when a serve off a restart deflected off a Bulldog defender past RHS senior keeper Gage Scurlock.
Rolla regained its two-goal cushion when senior Austin Parks won a ball in the corner and passed it to Short, who placed a ball across the box to Froehlich for the goal.
Kickapoo scored again with seven minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs were able to hold on.
It's only the second time RHS has won at Kickapoo and the first since 1993, when the Bulldogs advanced to the state tournament semifinals.
"We played well against a good Kickapoo team," said RHS head coach Mike Howard. "We committed a foul and they scored off of it and it turned the game a bit in their favor, but we were able to regain the flow on the third goal. We got caught in transition on the second goal by them, but were able to manage the time the rest of the game. It was a long six minutes the rest of the way.
"It sets up the same scenario as last year when we had to go to Joplin and beat an undefeated Joplin team for a share of the conference title."
Also on Thursday Rolla won the junior varsity game 1-0 on a goal by Stewart Meusch and a Carter Daniels shutout. The Rolla jayvee squad is now 10-2-1.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to host the Thomas Whitefield Games this weekend, playing College Heights on Friday and on Saturday meeting Columbia Battle at 1:30 p.m. at Lions Memorial Field.
In the final regular-season state poll released on Thursday the Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 in Class 2. The state poll is conducted by the Missouri High School State Soccer Coaches Association.
St. Dominic, 19-0, is the lone team ranked ahead of Rolla in Class 2 while Ladue is No. 3 and Carthage - which defeated RHS in the state quarterfinals last year - is No. 4.
Vianney is No. 1 in Class 3 while Southern Boone is the top-ranked squad in Class 1.
Page 2 of 2 - Here is the final regular-season state poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. St. Dominic (11)
7. Parkway West
8. Liberty North
10. Jeff. City Helias
1. Vianney (8)
2. Chaminade (1)
3. Columbia Rock Bridge
4. Lee's Summit West
6. Jefferson City
1. Southern Boone (7)
2. John Burroughs (1)
3. Springfield catholic
4. Sacred Heart
7. St. Pius (K.C.)
8. St. Pius (Festus)
10. Lutheran St. Charles