By Derek Shore (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Hillcrest High School girls’ soccer team places an emphasis on working hard each year, improving day and in and day out, and to have fun.
The Lady Hornets, who went 3-17 overall and 2-7 in the Ozark Conference, lost three key players to graduation from last year’s team – defender Audrey Boyles, a first-team All-OC and All-District selection. Midfielder Reagan Johnson and defender Jadan Adams also graduated.
Although the win-loss record wasn’t there, head coach Denys Hansen said Hillcrest had eight 1-0 games last year, winning two and dropping six of those contests.
“Working on improving offense to turn those outcomes around is going to be something we work on this season,” Hansen said.
The 2019 season looks promising as Hillcrest returns a whopping 13 lettermen and seven starters, who are important contributors to a Lady Hornets roster.
Hillcrest will feature a quartet of seniors, including forward Abigail Wilkinson, who returns after netting a team-high six goals as a junior. She will play outside mid/forward and will be the center of the offense.
Forward Gabby Deckard also is expected to return for her senior season after posting three goals last year. She possesses strong offensive capabilities, according to head coach Denys Hansen.
Senior defenders Lydia Conlon and Kelly Tran round out the returning senior class. Hansen described both as defensive standouts.
Hansen also listed juniors Cami Davis and Kloie Cook as the top remaining returnees going into this season. Both are returning defenders for the Lady Hornets.
Hansen said all newcomers are freshmen or sophomores new to soccer. He expects 11 total freshmen and three sophomores to contribute for Hillcrest this season.
“(My) expectations or focus for this year is to work on offense, scoring goals, and with the returning players we are going to reverse some of the close games,” Hansen said. “I think we have a very good team dynamic and we will continue to improve while all the time having fun playing, which is really what it is all about.”
The Lady Hornets open the season at Neosho on March 19.