By Matt Turer – email@example.com
One of the region’s favorites to compete for a state tournament berth resides in Nixa.
Two seasons removed from finishing as the fourth-place team in Class 4, the Eagles lost 10 seniors to graduation from a 16-win squad, but the expectations haven’t changed in Nixa: win the conference, win districts, and make a deep playoff run.
“The team has worked hard this summer and we have high expectations for this season,” head coach Evan Palmer said.
Two first-team all-conference selections are back in senior leading scorer Jacob Romero (21 G, 4 A) and junior midfielder/forward Hunter Daniels (6 G, 5 A). Romero will again headline the attack for the Eagles.
Two other all-conference picks are back as well in Brady Harrison (CM) and Jakob Price (GK). Harrison is strong on the ball and a big presence in the midfield and had four goals and five assists last year. Price allowed just 19 total goals in 18 games (nine shutouts). His experience (two-year starter) will be invaluable behind an inexperienced backline.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Andrew Anello (F/D) progresses from his freshman (9 G, 6 A) to sophomore year.
Seniors Jacob Voi (M), Riley Hobby (M/D), Hayden Olson (D) and Tyler Clubb (D) will play important roles as well.
Palmer said Voi (3G, 6 A) will need to step up and be a playmaker this season. Hobby, who played only nine games last year, will play a major role this season. Olson played in 15 games last year but wasn’t a starter, but that will change this fall as he steps into a starting role. Clubb had four starts, has good speed and is tough to beat, Palmer said.
Senior Tanner Powley (M/D) will also play more minutes this year.
Nathan Rapert (GK) will again backup Price. He’s the starter in waiting next season and had 1.5 shutouts last fall.
Other names to keep an eye on are Nathan Hirsch (M/D), Ethan Pelligren, Tyler Stoneberger (D), Tanner Palmer (D/M), Brandon Fox (D/M), Carson Beets (M), Brock Nelson (M), Cooper Hines (D) and Kyle Hirsch (D).