By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Savor every moment.
The Republic High School girls’ soccer team isn’t taking this season for granted.
The Lady Tigers are eager to suit up for varsity competition for the first time in two years.
“We have a talented group of players who love to compete and play,” said Republic coach Kevin Hauck. “They work well together and support each other. It is a fun group.
“We’re excited to get the chance to play again. Each game we can play this season will be special and we will be grateful for that.”
Republic’s gunning for its first district championship in five years.
The Lady Tigers should field a quality attack this season. On the other end, Republic’s reworking its backline with several young but promising players.
The Lady Tigers return about half of their starting lineup from 2020.
“We have some girls that know how to score and are good at it,” Hauck said. “I hope we can take advantage of that. Our defense may look young overall on paper, but they know how to play and will be ready for the challenge they will face every game.”
Seniors Clara Fronabarger (forward) and Sarah Hick (midfielder) are key for Republic’s offensive unit.
Despite only playing in 12 games her sophomore year (injury), Fronabarger was one of the premier scorers in the area. She tallied 20 goals to go with four assists.
“Clara has a knack for scoring,” Hauck said. “She knows how to get open, allows for the ball to find her and knows how to make everyone around her better.”
Hicks had four goals as a sophomore. Hauck praised her relentless playing style.
“Sarah has great work ethic and vision on the field,” he said. “Her motor is fantastic and she never stops working. She will do the little things for our team that help us win.”
Senior Tyra Campbell brings vital experience and awareness to Republic’s defense.
“Tyra understands positioning and that helps her control our defense and get everyone where they need to be,” Hauck said.
Senior Regan Holmes shined as a defender her freshman and sophomore years, but will shift to forward this season.
“Regan works hard and has a great motor,” Hauck said. “She can help give us an extra spark offensively next to Clara.”
Senior McKaelyn Klossing will generate Republic’s scoring chances from her midfield spot.
“She is smart on the ball and a good passer,” Hauck said. “She sees the field and knows how to release the ball quickly to find the next pass. She’ll be a good facilitator for us.”
Junior forward Cameron Gardner saw varsity action as a freshman. She’s also one of the faster players on the team.
“She brings speed to our game,” Hauck said. “She’s learning how to read the game and open up more, but I expect for her to be able to step up and earn more time this year.”
Republic will implement several new starters after graduating a five-player senior class from its 2020 team. The Lady Tigers were aiming for their third straight winning season.
Varsity seniors were: Emma Pearce (four-year starter), Emma Duvall, Hannah Lease, Miku Nambara and Megan Garbee. In addition, Maddie Wells graduated early.
“They were great role models for our younger players,” Hauck said. “They showed them how to work hard and be a true team player. They helped us build a great foundation.”
Republic has several new faces at all four grades levels looking to earn varsity minutes.
New seniors include midfielders Alyssa Fonseca and Nataley Montenegro. The latter saw some varsity time as a sophomore.
“Alyssa is smart on the ball and can pass well,” Hauck said. “Nataley moves well on the field and is a good passer.”
Senior Alycia Hauck or junior Graci Coleman will start at goalkeeper.
“The best person will win the job,” Kevin Hauck said. “I know they will both compete for it and it will be a great battle for an important (position) for us.”
Juniors Emma Jaquess (midfielder) and Erin Brown (forward) will look to boost Republic’s attack.
“Emma controls the ball well and has a big leg on her. If she can play at varsity speed, she can have a big year for us,” Kevin Hauck said. “Erin brings experience and speed to our lineup.”
Sophomores Aylora Crowe (forward/midfielder) and Mckena Argo (defender) could see playing time with their continued improvement.
“If (Aylora) can find a spot she is a player that will continue to improve and keep getting better,” Kevin Hauck said. “Mckena brings speed and physical play to our defense. She works hard and we’re excited to see her progress.”
Republic’s excited to see what the freshmen trio of Addison Tharp (defender), Ava Brown (defender) and Molly Blades (midfielder/forward) can do on the varsity level.
Tharp and Blades will have key defensive roles right away.
“Addison will be an impact player for us on the defensive side. She may only be a freshman, but plays like an experienced player,” Kevin Hauck said. “Ava will give us smart, physical play for on the defensive side. She passes well and sees the field well.”
Blades could start or serve as a sparkplug off the bench.
“Molly’s in line for a good varsity season as a freshman,” Hauck said.
Republic competes in a four-team jamboree at Springfield Catholic on March 12. Logan-Rogersville and Ozark are the other participating teams.
Republic then begins the regular season March 25 at home against Logan-Rogersville.