MSHSAA announced on Monday, Mar. 16 that they would not be cancelling spring sports due to the Coronavirus. There will be delays to the start of the season and you can read the full MSHSAA release on spring sports by clicking here. Many area schools have called off classes and extracurricular activities through at least Apr. 3 and will reassess at that time. We will continue to post our spring previews. Please note that this preview was written before delays for the spring season were announced.
By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Parkview Lady Vikings doubled their win total from 2018 to 2019 and coach Shelby Stewart thinks that her squad could be dangerous again this season.
“We have speed in all positions on the field, so we will look for that to be a strength this season,” Stewart said. “We also have the most club players that we have had in a long time, so our knowledge of the game should be high this season.”
The Lady Vikings finished 10-11-1 overall and 5-4 in the Ozark Conference, but fell in the first round of the Class 3 District 11 tournament 3-2 to Willard.
Lost to graduation is the experience of Nevaeh Mitchell, an all-district first-team and all-conference second-team selection, Emma Hampton, CJ Stiles and Gracie Wedgeworth.
“We graduated a decent-sized senior class,” Stewart said. “We will miss their leadership on the field, as well as in the classroom. Emma Hampton was a great leader, who played varsity all four years. Nevaeh Mitchell was a solid keeper for us for four years, so we will be looking for the next player to step up and fill that role.”
Key returnees for 2020 include Mikaela Whalen, Megan Dempsey, Olivia Wheeler, Ella Werner-Click and Kenzie Williams.
• Mikaela Whalen, junior, forward – Earned all-district and all-conference first-team honors. “Mikaela is a natural athlete who complements our offense and brings a scoring threat. She is tough on the ball and brings a good attitude to the team.”
• Megan Dempsey, senior, midfielder – All-district and all-conference first team. “Megan is tenacious and brings a contagious, tough energy every time she steps on the field. She is a great finisher and positions herself in dangerous spots on the field to put our team in a spot to be successful.”
• Olivia Wheeler, senior, forward – All-district and all-conference second team. “Olivia has great speed and a great finish. She is dangerous in the open field and in 1v1 situations. We are looking for her to take more of a lead role this year and push herself out of her comfort zone. She has been active at our offseason workouts and we are expecting big things from her this season.”
• Ella Werner-Click, senior, midfielder, all-district second team; Kenzie Williams, sophomore, defender, all-district second team also return.
“We are senior-heavy this season, so we are looking for big things from this group,” Stewart said. “If they put in the work and play as a team, we will be hard to beat on any night.”
A key addition to the Lady Vikings this spring will be freshman goalkeeper Bethany Koone. She will look to fill the void left by four-year starter Mitchell.
“Bethany Koone will be our keeper this season,” Stewart said. “She played with us this summer and she is tough. She is not afraid of contact and is eager to learn. We are expecting struggles because of her age and the transition to high school soccer, but with her work ethic and drive, she should be a top keeper in the area by the end of season.”
Parkview will participate in a jamboree with New Covenant, Central and Camdenton at Evangel University, before opening the regular season at home against Central on March 24.
“We will have a young goalkeeper this season, so it will be crucial for our upperclassmen to support our younger players and understand that we will go through some growing pains throughout the season,” Stewart said.