By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
As Hall of Fame coach Jeff Rogers prepares his Glendale Lady Falcons for the 2021 season, he and the team are taking the same approach used during the boys’ fall 2020 season.
“(Being able to play) is huge,” Rogers said after losing the girls’ spring 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I know every day in the fall, I told the boys not to take any practice or game for granted. We will approach the spring the same way. It is great to see kids out playing a sport they love with their friends, so we plan to cherish it all.”
In 2019, the Lady Falcons fell to Union in overtime of the Class 3 quarterfinals and ended the season ranked No. 8 in Class 3. They finished 17-8-1 overall and 8-1 in the Ozark Conference. Rogers currently sits 12 wins shy of his 400th in girls’ program history, and has a combined boys’ and girls’ record of 933-364-70.
Entering the 2021 season, Glendale returns eight key players from the 2019 quarterfinalist team.
The 2021 returnees include:
• Macie Stephens, senior, defender – The Abilene Christian signee was an all-state, all-region, all-district and All-Ozark Conference first-team selection. “Macie will be able to set the tone for us defensively and push our offense as well,” Rogers said.
• Leah McDonald, junior, defender – Class 3 Region 3 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, all-district first-team and all-OC second team. “Leah is a natural center back and a strong duo with Macie, but we were able to push her up the field (in 2019) to help push our offensive attack.”
• Taylor Thompson, junior, goalkeeper – All-district and All-OC first-team pick after recording 11 shutouts and a 1.0 goals-against average in 2019. “Taylor had to leave the state quarterfinals due to a leg injury and she showed what a great competitor she is in her recovery process to be back at 100 percent.”
• Paige Margreiter, junior, midfielder – All-district second-team and All-OC honorable mention. “Paige is a versatile player who will be in every match.”
• Reese Hertel, junior, midfielder – The Evangel commit was an all-district second-team and All-OC honorable mention. “Reese is one of the most competitive kids on the field.”
• Lauren Hamm, senior, defender – All-district second-team selection. “A very consistent and strong defensive player.”
• Hannah Rohrbaugh, junior, defender – All-district second-team honoree. “Hannah is a confident 1v1 defender. She matches up well in our system. She has a great work rate and reads the game well.”
• Halle Eise, junior, midfielder – All-district first-team and All-OC second-team pick. “Halle is a fun player to watch on the field. She is hard to the ball but has the technical ability to push play once she wins possession.”
The Lady Falcons will have some underclassmen who will compete at the varsity level, and Rogers hopes they will be impact players by mid-April.
One “newcomer” Rogers looks forward to seeing on the pitch and making an impact this season is senior forward and Truman State commit Emily Oedewaldt.
Oedewaldt, who is coming off a knee injury, played her first two seasons at Willard where she scored 71 goals for the Lady Tigers.
“Emily plans to return towards the end of our season,” Rogers said. “She is a difference-maker and I am excited to hear a few whistles with her in a Glendale uniform.”
The Lady Falcons will participate in a jamboree at Kickapoo with Nixa on March 11 before opening the season at Nixa on March 23.