By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
In the two seasons prior to 2019, the Glendale Lady Falcons entered district play with a sub-.500 record, but managed to play their best soccer at the right time, coming home with Class 3 district titles in 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, the Lady Falcons didn’t need to make things interesting as they finished 17-8-1 overall, 8-1 in the Ozark Conference, claimed the Class 3 District 11 title (their 11th district crown) and advanced all the way to the quarterfinal round where they fell 2-1 in overtime to Union.
“We were very successful last year with a young squad that gained valuable varsity experience,” said coach Jeff Rogers, who enters his 25th season, eclipsed the 900-overall win mark at Glendale last year and is 12 wins from 400 on the girls’ side. “The kids had a great postseason and fell short in OT of making a final four appearance. We will use that as motivation as we prepare and play throughout the 2020 campaign.”
Gone from the team that finished ranked No. 8 in the state are Emma Miller, Alexi Martinez, Emily Edmondson, Rike Sonntag and Issy Wead.
Miller led the team with 32 goals scored. She earned Class 3 All-State Second-Team honors, was the Class 3 Region 3 and Class 3 District 11 Player of the Year, and was an All-Ozark Conference First-Team selection.
Martinez was named to the all-district first team and all-conference second team. She is playing soccer at Millsaps College.
“Emma Miller was a great threat going forward and scoring,” Rogers said. “It is hard to replace when you lose that type of scoring threat. Alexi Martinez was a very versatile player for us and could play multiple positions.”
Even with those losses, Glendale will be loaded with a fairly young, but talented, roster.
“We went through a few seasons of fielding teams with athletes and some soccer knowledge, but now we are rostering players that have played a lot of soccer and many train year-round,” Rogers said.
• Macie Stephens, junior, defender – Earned all-state, all-region, all-district and all-conference first-team honors; committed to Abilene Christian University. “Macie is a very intelligent player that reads the game well and knows how to make game adjustments. She will be able to set the tone for us defensively and push our offense as well.”
• Chloe Hamm, junior, midfielder – “Chloe has good speed and understands how to not only defend but also how to use her speed to create scoring opportunities.”
• Natalie LaCroix, senior, midfielder – “I wish a had a team full of Nats. She is the very definition of a team player. She is encouraging and works hard to help her team win. Nat will play up top, and with her work ethic, we will be able to get a lot of looks and scoring opportunities.”
• Leah McDonald, sophomore, defender – “Leah made an impact from the first whistle as a freshman. She is a natural center-back and a strong duo with Macie, but we were able to push her up the field last year to help push our offensive attack. She excelled at this and we plan to continue to move her around as she develops as a player.”
• Taylor Thompson, sophomore, goalkeeper – Earned all-district and all-conference first-team honors. “Taylor had a great freshman campaign with 11 shutouts and a 1.0 goals-against average. She had to leave the state quarterfinals right before half due to a leg injury, and I have no doubt that incident will be motivating her this year.”
• Paige Margreiter, sophomore, midfielder – Was an all-district second-team and all-conference honorable mention selecton. “We played Paigey up top some last season, which is not a normal position for her, but she had great success.”
• Reese Hertel, sophomore, midfielder – Earned all-district second-team and all-conference honorable mention honors. “Reesey is one of the most competitive kids on the field, which I love. She hates to lose, which is lost on many in her generation, but we will use her passion and those around her to push teams into making mistakes that we can capitalize on.”
• Lauren Hamm, junior, defender – An all-district second-team selection. “Very consistent and strong defensive player that has played against talented offensive players/teams.”
• Hannah Rohrbaugh, sophomore, defender – All-district second-team honoree. “Hannah had a great freshman year on defense and played on the outside of the field, as well as at center-back. She is technically strong enough and sees the field well with the ball on her foot, which will give us more options.”
• Halle Eise, sophomore, defender – All-district first-team and all-conference second-team pick. “Halle has great mental toughness. She reminds me so much of her brothers in that she is going to play the game the right way and will play every second as hard as she can. She has a lot of success in forcing players into mistakes, winning possession and allowing us to start our attack.”
Glendale will have a few freshmen who could compete at the varsity level, Rogers says, but the Lady Falcons will have a formidable newcomer in transfer Emily Odewaldt, a junior forward.
“Emily Oedewaldt played for Willard the last two seasons, scoring 71 goals for the Tigers,” Rogers said. “She will be an impact player for us. We played them twice last season and she stood out to me with her composure on the ball and the ability to be a threat. She was on our scouting report as we prepared for postseason as a dangerous player that we would need to contain, and I know she will have success as a Falcon.”
The Lady Falcons will participate in a jamboree at Kickapoo with the Lady Chiefs and Nixa, before opening the regular season at home against Nixa on March 24.
“This group has the ability to pressure opponents into making mistakes and then they are able to build an attack out of the back,” Rogers said. “This group loves to be together which might be more important than other factors. They really are students of the game and have great soccer IQ’s. We will be able to look at various formations and strategies with this group and, if they all stay healthy, they will have a great year.”