By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
They picked up three wins last season – two over MVBT-Liberty and one over Marshfield – and stalled in the Ozark conference. But the West Plains Lady Zizzers return a more knowledgeable team for 2019 and are looking to compete.
“We have always struggled with our understanding of the game,” said fourth year head coach Amy Marshall. “We get a lot of players as freshmen that have never played soccer before, so I’m excited to have a group I have coached since they were freshmen that understand what we are trying to do on the field.”
Four starters who played significant minutes graduated – Madi Freeman, Abbey Gann, Megan Hardin, and Hanna Ellet. Freeman made the all-district second team at midfield.
Julie Hawkins and Emmy McDaniel were the two leading scorers from last season, and the seniors return for their final year of soccer. “Emmy is a vocal leader, aggressive, and has a big foot,” said Coach Marshall. “Julie has great ball skills and is one of our best offensive threats,” she said. McDaniel made the all-conference second team as well as the all-district second team as a forward.
Junior Abbi Thompson, center back, is aggressive and physical. “She is the key to our success defensively,” said Marshall. Thompson also earned post-season honors and was recognized for her defensive contributions with first team all-district and second team all-conference nods.
Marshall said a surprise this season is senior Leslie Myrick. “She has looked really good in our first few practices. She seems to have finally put everything together.”
Goalie Amelia Anderson is now a senior and has started on varsity each season. “She has continued to improve every year,” said Marshall. “She has good instincts and isn’t afraid to be aggressive in goal.”
Sisters Alexa and Paola Crim are move-ins and both will be great additions to the team and will play significant minutes per their new coach.
“Our goal every year is to make it to the championship game of our district and give ourselves a chance at a conference title,” said Coach Marshall. “We started off strong last year but had some injuries and struggled the second half of the season. This year, we have 10 seniors and 9 juniors, so we are an experienced team. I am hoping we can stay injury-free and improve on our record from last season.”
“I’m looking forward to being more competitive this year,” she added. “I feel like this is one of the better teams I have coached and I’m excited to see what they can do.”
The Lady Zizzers open at home March 15 against Poplar Bluff.