Will open 2017 season at home against Columbia Hickman on Tuesday, March 21st at 5 p.m.
Boonville soccer coach Tim Brown made a bold prediction in his final season of coaching the Lady Pirates.
After finishing second in the NCMC three years ago and first the last-two years, Brown said if the team stays healthy this season this should be their best team yet.
Of course Brown should know. He has been the head coach for both the boys and girls program since its inception and returns 9 of 11 starters not to mention that he has 28 girls suited out for the 2017 season.
“We lost three key players in three key positions last year, but the other nine are significantly stronger this year,” Brown said. “The big thing is staying healthy. We have a lot of players who can score, even if they need to move from the back to the top of the lineup. If we stay injury/illness free, though, there may not be any teams that will be able to keep up with us.”
Finishing 17-5 last spring was also a step in the right direction for the Lady Pirates. Although the Lady Pirates fell in the sectional round of the state playoffs for the second year in a row against St. Pius X out of Kansas City, Brown said the team still has two goals for the season. He said the No. 1 goal, as stated earlier, is to stay healthy. As for the No. 2 goal, he said it’s always to make the state tournament in Kansas City on May 31-June 1.
“This group of seniors has won everything else, and this is probably our most reasonable road to the Final Four that we’ve ever had (for the past five years, the team to knock us off of districts/sectionals has been a private school, and three of those times the school that defeated us went on to the Final Four).”
The Lady Pirates would also like nothing more than to give Brown another undefeated season in the NCMC.
Of course Brown made another bold statement saying Boonville should go 2-0 in the conference this spring.
“Hannibal and Marshall will both be good and should be fighting for second,” Brown said. “Fourth through seventh may be a tossup. However, one good recruit (freshman or transfer) can make a big difference in the high school, especially in the women’s game-a strong scorer can singlehandedly carry a team against lesser opposition.”
With nine returning letterwinners for the Lady Pirates, Brown said this year’s team will be a very balanced squad with strong athletes and ball skills up and down the lineup. He said the Lady Pirates should also be very good at maintaining possession and finishing.
The motto for the season is also simple for the Lady Pirates. Brown said this year’s team really likes a quotation that he often uses: “If you don’t score, you can win. If they don’t score, you can’t lose.”
Brown said this is, of course, a general sports statement, but it particularly applies to this team because there are about six quality finishers on the current squad (most schools struggle to produce one or two), and the Lady Pirates have two all-state defenders and potentially two or three more in the lineup.
“This group of athletes cares about every possession-protect the ball and finish it when we got it; protect the goal and get the ball back immediately when we’ve lost it,” Brown said.
The Lady Pirates definitely have the players who can score this season.
Senior Hannah Fuemmeler, who finished second in scoring last year with 20 goals and led the team in assists with 18, will return at the center forward position this season. A four-year starter, Brown said Fuemmeler should be a strong all-state contender.
“Hannah is strong and fast,” Brown said. “She’s also an excellent finisher and should score 20-plus goals this season.”
Junior Brynn Edwards also returns from last year at the wing forward position. While finishing with 17 goals and 17 assists last spring, Brown said Edwards is an excellent one versus one dribbler and passer of the ball. “Brynn should also score 20-plus goals this season and will take some corner kicks,” Brown said.
With Fuemmeler and Edwards back at the forward position, Brown said sophomore Olivia Browning will be making her first start at the wing forward position. “Olivia is a good passer of the ball,” Brown said. “We’re looking for a lot of crosses and assists out of her and Maddie.”
Junior Maddie Weber will also see some playing time at the wing forward position.
At the attacking mid position this season for the Lady Pirates, sophomore Sariana Barbarotta will return for her second season after finishing with seven goals and six assists in 2016.
Brown said Barbarotta is probably the strongest receiver and passer of the ball on the team. “Sariana has great vision, hits well with both feet and should lead the team in assists this season,” Brown said. “She will also make free kick crosses and some corner kicks.”
At the holding mid positions, Brown will look to another pair of returners in senior Shelby Wessing and junior Kate Peterson. Wessing finished last year with three goals and one assist for the Lady Pirates while Peterson added six goals and 16 assists, which ranked third on the team.
Brown said Wessing has the hardest shot on the team. “Shelby will take free kick shots but she is also an excellent tackler,” Brown said. “As for Kate, she should be a strong all-state contender again. She is probably the strongest dribbler on the team.”
The Lady Pirates will also return plenty of experience on the backside of the field this season at wing back and center back. Returning for Boonville this season at the wing back positions are junior Blake Allison and sophomore Brooke Coleman. Allison finished the 2016 season with two goals and one assist while Coleman had four assists on the season.
“Blake is an excellent dribbler and passer of the ball,” Brown said. “She will probably play higher up the lineup. As for Brooke, she is tenacious. She is an excellent one versus one defender and tackler but she is also a good dribbler and passer. She will be a future center back.”
Sophomore MJ Goff will also see some playing time at the wing back position, according to Brown.
As for the center back position, which is the last line of defense, Brown will look to senior Rosie Lenz and junior Leigha Vollmer. Lenz, a returning two-time all-state selection, had seven goals and one assist in 2016.
Brown said Lenz should be a strong all-state contender again.
“Rosie is fast, vocal and probably will play higher up in the lineup on occasions, Brown said. “She is also the team captain along with Hannah. As for Leigha, she has great size and a strong shot. She should also be an all-state contender at defense.”
With so much talent returning this season for the Lady Pirates, the one position that could be a question mark is at goalie. While graduating two-year starter Haylee Thomas at the goalie position, Brown said sophomore Jamie Lemmons is fairly new to soccer. “Both of Jamie’s sisters were varsity goalkeepers (at BHS and Marshall),” Brown said. “Jamie has great hands, great size and will know enough by the opener to protect the net. Freshman Sarah Miller will also play some goalie this season.”
3-21, Hickman, H, 5 p.m.
3-23, Fulton, A, 5 p.m.
3-27, Hannibal, A, 5 p.m.
3-30, Marshall, H, 5 p.m.
4-3, Oak Grove, A, 5 p.m.
4-4, Moberly, A, 5 p.m.
4-10, Mexico, A, 5 p.m.
4-11, Father Tolton, H, 5 p.m.
4-13, Fatima, A, 5 p.m.
4-17, Fulton, H, 5 p.m.
4-20, Hannibal, H, 5 p.m.
4-25, Kirksville, A, 5 p.m.
4-27, Moberly, H, 5 p.m.
4-28-29, Camdenton Tourn.
5-2, Marshall, A, 5 p.m.
5-4, Mexico, H, 5 p.m.
5-9, Kirksville, H, 5 p.m.
5-13-19, District Tourn., TBA