By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
West Plains had a noteworthy 2018 season with all-district Coach of the Year Justin Frazier leading the charge in his second year in command. Their 16-9 record was one of the top in program history, and highlights included Lebanon and Parkview Tournament victories and a win over Kickapoo. Their season ended in district play against Glendale, the eventual 4th place finishers in class 3.
Seth Stiles was clutch for the Zizzers, scoring in 16 consecutive games and setting the school record with 43 total goals, 8 of those game-winners. The district offensive player of the year holds the records for goals and points in a career and was named to the all-conference first team, all-region team, and earned an all-state honorable mention.
Stiles is one of five who graduated, as is all-district, all-conference and all-region Irvin Barraza, who racked up 18 assists and 60 points last season. Tyler Ford was the career and single season assist leader with 19, and made the all-district first team. Zerek Johnson holds the record for second in career wins and second in saves and was a second team all-district and all-conference honorable mention player.
West Plains will help fill those gaps with returning starters Tommy Keller, Minh Dinh, Philip Sheridan, Kadin McGoldrick, Nate Thomas, Daegen Green, and Ethan Keller.
Tommy Keller was a captain and starting center back last season. He made the all-district first team and all-conference second team as a junior and will now move up to center midfielder to run the offense.
“Minh Dinh and Philip Sheridan are outside mids who have very high motors and are active across the field,” said Coach Frazier. Sheridan is expected to score goals, as are juniors Nate Thomas and Daegan Green in the forward role.
Ethan Keller and Kadin McGoldrick will be back on defense with senior Jakoby Hansmann. Hansmann returns from an ankle injury that sidelined him in all but a few games last season and will anchor the defense at center back.
Hunter McCullough, all-district second team and all-conference honorable mention, will play a variety of roles, including goalkeeper and midfield. Landon Casey and Evan Stewart round out the Zizzer squad.
“We are a very balanced team and most players are comfortable playing multiple positions,” said Coach Frazier. “They are a very unselfish group and look to get other teammates involved.”
Frazier said the Zizzers’ goal remains winning a district championship and continuing in postseason play. “This year’s team will have to be a more complete team and rely on everyone working hard and playing as a team after losing so much offense from last season’s team. The boys have been working hard this summer, attended Missouri State University team camp, and are looking forward to getting the season underway.”
West Plains kicks off their season at the Lebanon tourney on Aug. 30.