By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
With a winless streak that dates back to 2016, new Hillcrest High School soccer coach Roy Hardy has a challenging task in front of him.
“The program hasn’t won a game in two years, so just knowing how to win a soccer match can be a challenge in and of itself,” Hardy said. “As a new coach, I will need the boys to buy into my philosophy and be willing to have patience as changes occur.”
While new to the head coaching position, Hardy is not new to Hillcrest. He served one year as the girls’ soccer aide last season and will guide both the boys’ and girls’ programs the upcoming school year. He also has coached junior varsity boys’ basketball at Hillcrest.
Hardy has 20 years of soccer coaching experience, having helped start the soccer program at Central Bible College in 1999, where he coached before the school merged with Evangel University in 2012. At CBC, he amassed a record of 102-122-6. Hardy then served as the Branson girls’ JV coach for five years going 25-30-12.
“My expectations for the season are that we will be competitive in every match and show a spirit of sportsmanship,” Hardy said. “The excitement of new expectations heightens their spirit of improving their soccer skills.”
Hardy has a large class of seniors returning for the 2019 season, providing the Hornets valuable experience.
• Garrett Cates, a forward, was named to the Class 3 All-District 11 First-team and was an All-Ozark Conference Honorable Mention pick.
• Troy Lindsey, defender, was an all-district first-team selection.
• Noah Livingston, midfielder, was an all-district second-team pick.
• Gabe Morales, forward, was an all-district and all-conference second-team selection.
• Hunter Stillwell, goalkeeper, was named to the all-conference first team.
Other returning seniors include: Gibson Bell, Tanner Sullivan, Aaron Beimontez and Trevor Roy.
“These are seniors that I know of that will play a major role in changing the dynamics of the program culture and the team’s success,” Hardy said. “Their leadership on and off the field will be huge for the program.”
And, Hardy hopes the excitement of new expectations will boost the Hornets to new heights.
“To continually teach them new drills by keeping practice fresh and enlightening (will be key),” Hardy said. “This will allow their tactical, technical, physical, social and mental abilities to grow and shine.”
Hillcrest hosts a jamboree with Willard, Laquey and Fair Grove on Aug. 26, before opening the season at Waynesville on Sept. 3.
Hardy says that the Hornets’ approach to practice is important for the season’s expectations.
“The goal is to make practices competitive, so that entering into the games that will continue on the field,” Hardy said. “My philosophy is to practice the way you will play. The guys should look forward to playing games because their practices are physically and mentally preparing them for competition.”