By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Having athletic players is a good thing, but sometimes it can lead to a late start.
In the case of Rogersville girls soccer – several of the team’s better players also play basketball, meaning the soccer team is without them for most of their preseason practices.
“Because of how the state does girls basketball, we may be missing five of our top players because of the overlap,” 11th year coach Brett Wubbena said. “We could get them for soccer less than a week before our first game. That’s not much time to prepare, but I imagine other teams are in the same boat.”
Last year, the Wildcats finished 11-11, including a 1-2 mark in conference play. Injuries were a problem for Rogersville last season. The team battled through those injuries and made the district championship but lost to Springfield Catholic.
Three key players graduated in Alyssa Johnson, Kirsten Conley, and Quenci Shirk. “Alyssa was a really good defender for us,” Wubbena said. “Kirsten was a really good ‘lead by example’ leader. She worked harder than anyone and was totally selfless. Quenci is a good player that was great at keeping our team loose. She was never uptight.”
Returners to the team include a pair of seniors in midfielder/forward Taylor Overstreet and midfielder Lauren Bleau. Bleau tore her ACL/MCL and will be unable to play this year.
“She has so much talent, and that needs to be recognized,” Wubbena said of Bleau. “She worked really hard this past year and battled other injury problems only to be completely sidelined this year. She will still be an outstanding leader from the side.”
Overstreet, the team’s leader in career goals scored, will be counted on to shoulder a lot of the leadership load from the field.
“She is our leader and a rock on the field,” Wubbena said. “Last year we had some games that we couldn’t get anything going, and Taylor just put us on her back and carried us to victory.”
Rogersville also brings back six juniors in forward Sophia Nixon, midfielder Lexie Vernon, midfielder Shelby Ince, defender Jessy Bond, defender Callie Baron, and midfielder Madison Hays.
“Sophia is an outstanding player with tons of speed and the ability to finish,” Wubbena said. “She is second in our career goals category and leads our program in most goals scored in a game. Lexie is a pure soccer player that can do it all: pass, dribble, and shoot. When she’s rolling, she can take over a game. Shelby never plays without giving it all. She wants to play every position and never wants to come off the field. She is truly an amazing player. Jessy and Callie are both great defenders, and Madison is a great distributor. She sees the field well.”
The Wildcats will be aided by the addition of freshman Kaitlyn Standefer.
“She has a winning attitude and work ethic to make a difference,” Wubbena said.
Rogersville has moved into a new conference with the Big 8 this year, but that won’t affect the way they approach their opponent each time out.
“I expect that the girls play hard and compete in every game,” Wubbena said.