By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Parkview has big aspirations for 2019. With no graduation losses and promising talent returning to the field, the Vikings are eyeing a district title.
Coach Shelby Stewart, who coaches both soccer teams at the school, said it’s a promising group.
“This will be the most athletic team I have coached since working at Parkview,” said coach Shelby Stewart, a graduate of the school and former player at Missouri State. “I’m excited to watch what this group can achieve.”
Parkview finished 5-18 last season with a senior-less roster. The Vikings peaked when it mattered most – they played Glendale to a 2-1 loss in overtime in the Class 3 District 10 title game.
“We look to compete in every single game we play,” Stewart said. “We ended our season on a high note but didn’t reach our overall goal.
“These girls have their sights set on winning districts, something that is attainable if they put in the work.”
The Vikings bring back experience in several positions.
Junior Olivia Wheeler leads Parkview’s attack. She led the team in scoring her freshman season and was injured for a portion of her sophomore season.
“We look forward to building off her strong return at the end of the (2018) season,” Stewart said.
Senior Emma Hampton, a four-year starter, brings an “invaluable” presence to the field, `Stewart said.
“Her soccer knowledge and leadership skills allow others around her to grow and settle into their roles on the team,” Stewart said.
Gracie Wedgeworth played well along Parkview’s back line last season. She’ll return there for 2019 and play a vital role for Parkview’s defense.
“Gracie (will) mark most team’s best players,” Stewart said. “Her tenacity and overall work ethic is something you can’t teach.”
Junior Ella Werner is one of Parkview’s most versatile players.
“She’s an emerging player who has made great strides throughout her career,” Stewart said. “We look for her to become a huge impact-player this season.
“She is capable of playing multiple positions, which will be key as the season stretches out.”
Senior Nevaeh Mitchell returns as Parkview’s starting goalkeeper.
Parkview also welcomes back junior Jaylynn Huddleston, who was injured for much of her sophomore season.
Sophomore Mikaela Whalen could be poised for a breakout season after emerging as a scoring threat late in 2018.
“We’ll have a good balance of youth and upperclassmen,” said Stewart, who also noted that team chemistry should be a strength. “We have experienced attackers and an experienced goalkeeper.”
Newcomers include freshmen tandem Jourdyn McKinney and Kenzie Williams. Both are tremendous athletes, Stewart said.
“They could see immediate time if they are able to pick up the pace of the varsity game,” Stewart said.
Parkview begins the regular season March 19 at Central.