By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
After a tough season last year, the Greenwood Blue Jays girls soccer team is eager for a fresh start. They’ll get that fresh start this spring.
Now in her fourth year at Greenwood (and third as the girls’ head coach), Shelby Setzer is excited to turn the page to this coming spring.
“We have high expectations for this year,” Setzer said. “We are looking to expand our record as a team. The past season was a rough one.”
Two key seniors have graduated from last year in Molly Jones and Gina Zubair. Jones was a key asset for Greenwood defensively, helping lead the charge from the backline. Zubair played in the midfield and was an impact player there, helping spearhead the team’s offensive attacks. Their production on the field and leadership on and off the field will be missed by the returning Greenwood players.
Fortunately, the Blue Jays do bring back several key returners that should provide some stability and experience on a youthful roster. These key returners include seniors Emma McCall and Fallon Yarnell. McCall is out with an injury but will be a key asset from the sidelines, leading off the field. Her dedication to the program and love for her teammates will be an asset for the Blue Jays this year. Yarnell will help lead from the back line, guiding the Blue Jays defense and shouldering some of the leadership load on the field. Her presence on the field will have a large positive impact on the team this spring.
Other key returners for Greenwood include juniors Anna McNay and Sage Vahldick. McNay will work together with Yarnell on the back line, while Vahldick is the team’s goal keeper. Having so much talent back defensively will help Greenwood stifle its opponents’ offensive attack and should make the Lady Jays a tough team to score against.
Greenwood also welcomes in a large group of freshmen newcomers, highlighted by Annabelle Sonnemaker.
“We will have many freshmen newcomers this year,” Setzer stated. “One to keep an eye out for Annabelle Sonnemaker. She will be a playmaker up front.”
Setzer will be looking for impact out of this group of newcomers, seeing which players can establish themselves as productive players at the varsity level. Freshmen don’t always get opportunities to play varsity soccer right away, so the chance to contribute at the varsity level for this group of freshmen should excite this bunch of newcomers.
“We’re a young team with only two returning seniors, one of which is out with an injury,” Setzer noted. “Our girls will play with lots of energy, excitement, and commitment.”
With so many young players getting their first experience at the varsity level, Greenwood could easily be a team that improves greatly from the first game to the end of the season. The youth and talent on the team could also make it a team that might struggle against varsity competition early in the year, but by the end of the season could be a tough matchup each and every game.