Boonville Pirates soccer coach Kaz Hazell has the perfect solution going into each game for the 2019 season.
Hazell said the Pirates want to take it one game at a time and not look ahead.
With 31 soccer players suited out for the upcoming season, eight of which are returning starters and 15 returning letterwinners, Hazell said the outlook for the season is to improve the record from last year at 4-13-2 overall.
“We want to have a winning mentality at each practice before going into a game and setting the tone right away,” Hazell said. “Our seniors are strong this year so as a coaching staff we will be looking to our seniors to lead the younger boys.”
Make no mistake, the Pirates will go out trying to win every game they play. But in order to accomplish that goal, Hazell said the key is maintaining a winning mentality at practice and going into game days giving 110 percent effort.
As for the strengths of the team this season, Hazell said it’s having a strong senior class and having good depth to come in for the starters. Hazell also added that ball control in the middle with the two solid players will also be a strength. “We want to keep possession and then go at them with pace,” Hazell said. “A lot of the players on the field have varsity experience.”
Of course the Pirates aren’t without their share of shortcomings for the season. Hazell said the current weakness for the season includes the inability to maintain “soccer pace” for the entirety of an 80 minute game. However, Hazell said the Pirates have an abundance of subs that will alow the players to get the rest when it is needed. Hazell added that she also made conditioning a primary focus for their practice.
As for the goals for the 2019 season, Hazell said this season the Pirates want to improve their record again and not allow as many goals as last year.
“We need to focus on our defensive shape and being organized,” Hazell said. “The second goal would be to have a competitive atmosphere at practice as it will be close figuring out the starters come Southern Boone.”
Boonville also has a team motto for the season, which is “FUELING THE MACHINE”. Hazell said the players chose this motto to represent the hard work, teamwork, and preparation it takes to work successfully together. She said everything that is done both during practice and outside of practice should be in the best interest of making the “machine” work. Hardwork and integrity are the fuel.
If there is one constant on the Boonville Pirates soccer team this season it has to be the play of senior goalie Gabe Lorenz. With one shutout last season, Lorenz also gave up just a little over 3.0 goals per game.
Hazel said Lorenz has the height and ability to react quickly in the goal. “His distribution from the back will help us,” Hazell said. “He was a field player, but he will do an awesome job for us in goal.”
Of course Lorenz also needs help from the back line, which will consists of seniors Sam Esser, Ryan Dority and Jake Horst.
Hazell said Esser-an all-district selection last year at defender-has been converted into a defender, either as a center back or outside back. “Sam has picked up fairly quick and I am excited to see him excel in the defense,” Hazell said. “Sam has a natural instinct as a defender and gets stuck in on tackles. He is strong on the ball and does not get pushed around easily.”
As for Dority, Hazell said Ryan is another player who will also get some varsity minutes. She said he is another player that puts in the extra work to better himself. “He is a small defender and understands the game well,” Hazell said. “He connects out of the back and looks to keep possession for us.”
Horst is another player that got moved up this year and has shown great things at practice, Hazell said. Hazell described Horst as a great leader in the back and very vocal. “He is not afraid to yell and organize everyone in front of him,” Hazell said. “He has great stamina and works extremely hard in the back.”
The Pirates will also have plenty of experience returning at the midfield position this season. Hazell said while seniors Josh Chrisman and Angel Garcia will only play midfield, senior Quin Gentry will play both midfield and defense while sophomore Austin Coleman will see playing time at both the midfield and forward positions.
Hazell said Chrisman, who had two assists last year, is very good in the air and wins the midfield. “Josh is an awesome defender and keeps people in front of him,” Hazell said. “His constant work ethic is what sticks out the most on the field. “As for Angel, he is a very skilled player with a lot of game experience. He is also very confident on the ball and that confidence will give us more goal scoring opportunities throughout the season. Alongside his soccer ability, Angel is also a leader on the field that pushes his teammates to perform to the best of their abilities.”
Hazell said Gentry is another player that she can move around and will excel in whatever position. With one goal on the season last year, Hazell said Gentry is a smart defender, reads the field well by distributing out wide and keeps possession. “Quin is a strong player in the air and has good skills when getting out of traffic,” Hazell said.
As for Coleman, who had two assists on the season last year, Hazell said austin is a very skillful player and will create a lot of chances on goal. “Austin has good speed and is dangerous when running at players,” Hazell said. “His work ethic is something that I have noticed through the summer and in practice.”
The next three players that will have to do the brunt of the scoring this season will be seniors Will Rehagen and Aaron Witting and junior Jimi Barbarotta. Rehagen led the team last year in goals with seven while Barbarotta had three goals and Witting two goals.
Hazell said Rehagen will be playing up top for Boonville and will be key in their attack. “He is a player that will put in the work off the ball and find the open spaces to break free from the defenders,” Hazell said. “Will has a lot of different moves he likes to use when going at players. He is a player with a lot of finesse.”
As for Witting, Hazell said Aaron will be playing outside mid. “Aaron is a returning starter and will be a big piece in our attack,” Hazell said. “Aaron has a good left foot and is able to shoot from distance. He has great speed up top and is able to run onto the ball and get crosses for us on the outside. Aaron has stepped up and has been vocal at practice with the younger boys.”
Barbarotta will be in his second year with varsity. After earning all-district honors in 2018 at the midfielder position, Hazell said Jimi will be able to play outside mid or attacking mid. “When he is playing as outside mid, he is dangerous when he gets inside the box and looks for the back post on his crosses,” Hazell said.