Twelve up, 12 down.
That pretty much sizes up the Boonville Lady Pirates soccer team in the NCMC last spring.
Although the Lady Pirates finished 16-2-1 overall under former coach Tim Brown, the outlook is no different under first-year coach Kaz James, who welcomed 28 girls in grades 9-12 for the first week of practice.
To go along with finishing with 16 wins on the season, the Lady Pirates were again perfect in the conference at 12-0.
“I think this season will be a good year for the group,” James said. “I have a great leading senior class that is holding high standards for the group. The team chemistry of the group is great. I am very optimistic of the group and excited to start our season this Friday against Rock Bridge. Our first-two games will be tough, but will only help us going into the conference.”
James also has her thoughts on the NCMC this season. While six teams will give it their all this season against the Lady Pirates, James said Boonville probably sits up high in the NCMC as they won the conference last year.
As for the strengths of the team this season, James said the girls have good work ethic as a group and ball movement up top. “The girls are good at getting the ball down and playing out of it and not just kicking it,” James said.
As for weakness this season, James said it’s probably not having much depth on the bench.
James also had several goals listed for the girls this season. She said the first goal this season is to now allow more than two goals in a game and to be better each game and not drop their level, so when districts comes they are ready.
“The big thing already  is the girl’s mentality that they have showed day in and day out at practice,” James said of what she likes to see from the players this season. “They have come to practice with a great attitude and the Saturday practices have been great as well. The girls are meshing well together and figuring out their responsibilities on the field. I feel like the girls will score goals this season, but I do not think we will be a defensive team.”
If the 2017 season is any indication, the Lady Pirates should be fine on offensive end after scoring 120 goals in 19 games. Boonville also set or tied six records last spring.
Although the Lady Pirates lost leading scorer Hannah Fuemmeler to graduation (33 goals), they return second leading scorer Brynn Edwards, who finished with 28 goals and four game-winning goals in 2017.
However, Edwards will switch to the mid-fielder position this season for Boonville along with Sariana Barbarotta, Mille Dorman, Olivia Gholson and Kate Peterson.
“Brynn is great on the outside and has dangerous balls inside the box,” James said. “Brynn is also able to cut the ball back and find her teammates inside the box. She is able to hit the ball from anywhere outside the 18 yard box. She is also a great leader for the group this season as well.”
As for the rest of the mid-fielders, Peterson returns as a three-year starter after finishing with nine goals and 12 assists in 2017. James said Peterson is a solid player in the mid-field and gets involved in the attack a lot. “Kate looks to play a ball over the top into space for the forwards to run onto,” James said. “She is another player that reads the field well and notices when the defense is out of shape.”
Barbarotta also returns for the Lady Pirates this season after finishing with 19 goals and a team-leading 25 assists last year. Barbarotta also had four game-winning goals for Boonville.
“Sariana is another player with a great work rate and another fit player on the team,” James said. “Sariana has a lot of knowledge of the game and is dangerous when she has the ball at her feet. She is a versatile player and is able to play with both feet. She has a great skill set and uses that when going at player.”
As for Dorman and Gholson, James said Dorman has a great attitude and works to find the ball in the attack. “When Mille gets inside the box she is looking to find the shot and keeps it low in the corners,” James said. “As for Olivia, she has shown great skills on the ball. Olivia is a player that distributes the ball well and then finds the ball again. She is a player that plays both sides of the ball defensively and attacking.”
At the forward position, senior Maddie Weber returns after finishing the 2017 season with three goals and seven assists.
James said Weber is a solid attack who moves off the ball well to give her some space from defenders. “Maddie is good at making runs to find the ball again from her teammates,” James said. “She has good skills to go at players one on one to then get a shot off inside the box.”
The Lady Pirates will also return two players at the defender position in junior Brooke Coleman and senior Leigha Vollmer.
James said Coleman has great work rate and is one of the fittest players on the team. “Brooke is a solid defender and has a great fitness base that allows her to get forward as much as possible,” James said. “She has a great touch and is dangerous when getting involved in the attack. As for Leigha, she is a smart defender and reads the field well. She controls the field and is very vocal in the back. Leigha is a great leader in the back and makes sure the group is together and not out of shape. She has a great clearance out of the back.”
Also playing the defender position this season for Boonville are juniors Olivia Browning and Zoe Coffelt.
James said Browning is a good defender as well as mid-fielder.
“Olivia is another player that has worked hard this off-season,” James said. “Olivia is not afraid to go into tackles and then connect after she wins the ball. She understands when to step and not step as a defender. Another great piece to Olivia is that she has a hard shot and is not afraid to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself. As for Zoe, she is new to soccer this year and has a lot of potential moving forward. Zoe is an athlete and has picked up a lot in the last two months from her teammates. Zoe has good speed for outside back or outside mid.”
James will also look to junior goalie Sarah Miller to take on a bigger role this season. While starting on the JV team last season, James said Miller has made great improvements from last season. “She has a great work ethic and good reaction with shots inside the box,” James said. “She is vocal and organizes the box well.”
2018 Soccer Schedule
3-16    at Rock Bridge, 5:00
3-20    at Hickman, 5:00
3-22    FULTON, 5:00
3-26    HANNIBAL, 5:00
4-2    OAK GROVE, 5:00
4-3    MOBERLY, 5:00
4-6    at Marshall, 5:00
4-9    MEXICO, 5;00
4-10    at Father Tolton, 5:00
4-12    FATIMA, 5:00
4-16    at Fulton, 5:00
4-19    at Hannibal, 5:00
4-24    KIRKSVILLE, 5:00
4-26    at Moberly, 5:00
4-27-28 Camdenton Tourn.
5-1    MARSHALL,     5:00
5-3    at Mexico, 5:00
5-8    at Kirksville, 5:00
5-13-19 District Tourn., TBA
Note: Home matches in caps.