By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
For the second year in a row, the Glendale Lady Falcons got hot at the right time last season.
Emma Miller’s golden goal in overtime gave the Lady Falcons their 10th district title in program history, when they defeated Parkview 2-1 in the Class 3 District 10 championship last season.
Glendale, which went into the district tournament with an 8-9 record before falling to Union 3-0 in the sectional round, finished 10-10 overall.
“We do a really good job at Glendale of preparing our kids for postseason,” said head coach Jeff Rogers, who is closing in on 900 career wins at Glendale. “We are pretty specific on game strategy and walk them through all possibilities. The kids buy into the approach.”
Rogers, who is in his 24th season as the girls’ head coach at Glendale, has a record of 371-161-36. His combined boys’ and girls’ record at Glendale is 887-339-69. He is a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee (2017) and a member of the Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame class of 2013.
Key losses to graduation include Alison Hawkins (all-district and All-Ozark Conference first team), Mary Powell (all-district first team, all-conference second team), Elyssa Hitt (all-district first-team goalkeeper, all-conference second team) and Regan Richardson (all-district second team).
Hitt is on the soccer team at Southwest Baptist University.
“Last year’s seniors did not lead on the stats page, but were very instrumental in defending and welcoming so many young players to varsity competition,” Rogers said. “This group was very seasoned and had the experience to help us in the postseason.”
The Lady Falcons have plenty of firepower returning in senior Emma Miller and sophomore Macie Stephens.
Miller, who led the team with 14 goals and 5 assists, earned all-state honorable mention honors, was a Class 3 All-Region 3 team selection, the Class 3 District 10 Offensive Player of the Year, and an all-conference first-team pick.
“Emma Miller makes great runs as a front-runner and has the ability to create space and finish,” Rogers said.
Stephens scored 10 goals and had 5 assists last season as a freshman. She earned all-region honors, was named the Class 3 District 10 Player of the Year, and was a first-team all-conference selection.
“Macie Stephens is a great communicator and vision player,” Rogers said. “She is a natural defender, but we will look to push her to help create offensively.”
Alexis Martinez was unable to play last year, and Rogers said he is happy to have her back.
“I am excited she will be back on the field for us this season,” Rogers said. “She will have an immediate impact in the middle of the field and will give us both a defensive and offensive presence.”
The Lady Falcons also return all-district second-team selections Chloe Hamm (sophomore) and Natalie LaCroix (junior).
“We will add a new class of freshmen, along with a competitive class of freshmen from last season, which will make us competitive in practice and in competition,” Rogers said. “We will have a great freshman class that has the soccer experience to have an immediate impact on our program.”
Glendale, which finished 5-3 for third place in the Ozark Conference, will participate in a jamboree on March 7 at Kickapoo with Nixa, before opening the season with back-to-back games against Class 4 schools Republic on March 18, and Nixa on March 19.
“We will come out of the gates playing great teams and will need to use those games to get better,” Rogers said. “We expect this group to compete well in postseason play.”