Boonville Lady Pirates soccer coach Kaz Hazell has two goals for the Lady Pirates in 2020.

After finishing 5-9 last spring, Hazell said the first goal for the team is to improve every practice and game. As for the second goal, Hazell said she wants to see the players gain more knowledge of the game and continue to develop for the years to come.

With only one starter and eight letterwinners returning from the 2019 season, Hazell said the key to the season is going to be how well the girls communicate to one another and having a positive outlook.

“Our strengths are our communication,” Hazell said. “The girls are good at talking to one another on the field or off the field or off the field when younger players may have questions. I think our defense is going to be one of our stronger points as well.”

Nonetheless, it goes back to the Lady Pirates being a young team with only a few players with soccer experience. Hazell said a lot of the players do not have 11 vs. 11 experience.

“We will also see some trouble finishing our shots, especially in the beginning of the season,” Hazell said.

As for the goals for the season, Hazell said the first goal for the team is to get better with their overall touch and keeping possession when they have it.

“Second is our spacing on the field,” Hazell said. “Third is to continue to grow and develop as a program for the future with that being our long term goal.”

If the Lady Pirates are to reach their goals in what has become a shortened season due to the coronavirus, Hazell will have to count on senior holding mid Eliza Adams and juniors Macey Nowlin (holding mid) and Olivia Gholson (outside mid) to lead the team.

Hazell said Adams is the leader of the group and will be helpful for the new girls on the field. “Eliza has really improved from these last two years and shows a lot of confidence when she is on the field,” Hazell said. “She has a lot to offer to the team this year as a senior as she will be a huge asset to the offense. She is vocal and is giving constant direction to the players around her. Eliza has good vision when she is on the ball and is always looking to find the ball in the attack or helping us get numbers forward.”

As for Gholson, she is the team’s leading scorer from last year with two goals. While Jordyn Kempf and Sariana Barbarotta combined for 23 of the team’s 28 goals in 2019, Hazell said Gholson is a player that likes to get down the end line and create crossing opportunities for the Lady Pirates.

“Olivia is one of the only players up in the attack that can shoot from distance and will be huge for us to get some shots from distance,” Hazell said. “Olivia has also stepped up by taking on the role of an upperclassmen with helping others around her.”

As for Nowlin, she finished the season with one assist in 2019 but has moved up to the field because of what she has to offer at the holding mid position.

“Macey is the more defensive minded player in the midfield and helps make the back line job easier,” Hazell said. “She has good distribution to our outside mids and is able to organize the other mids around her.”

Hazell also has high hopes for freshman Abby Fuemmeler, who is the only attacking mid for the Lady Pirates. Hazell said Fuemmeler will be another huge asset in the middle for Boonville. “She has great skills on the ball and is able to run at people and create some dangerous plays,” Hazell said.

As for the outside back position, Hazell will look to senior Gabrianna Webster, junior Kaylin Hartsock and sophomore Rayghan Skoufos.

Hazell said Webster is new to the team this season. “Gabrianna has picked up the game quickly and has a good understanding on her position,” Hazell said. “She will be another effective player on the outside and her fitness is something that adds to the game for her.”

As for Hartsock, Hazell said she is a vocal player in the back. “She is an outside back that helps direct where people should be and is constantly organizing those around her,” Hazell said. “She has stepped up big time as upperclassmen and has been guiding the younger players.”

Skoufos, meanwhile, is new to the program and is another player that has picked up her position quickly. “”Rayghan is an athletic player and reads the game well when she is out on the field,” Hazell said. “She is quick defensively and stays connected with her center back.”

At the centerback positions, Hazell will look to sophomores Nora Morris and Alondra Green. Hazell said Morris played as a midfielder last year to get her back into the center back position. She said this will be Morris’ second year playing soccer. “Nora has improved her game tremendously,” Hazell said. “She is strong in the air and works well next to our other center back Alondra Green. These two players next to one another have been good at practice and I look forward to what they can do this season.”

As for Green, Hazell said she is one of the strongest defensive players in the back field and most experienced in the game. “She was an outside back last year, but will be playing next to Nora,” Hazell said. “These two have done a great job working well together. Alondra has stepped up and become a vocal leader with her defense and takes pride in the backline. She is very strong on her tackles and is not afraid to go in for the 50/50 challenge.”

Sophomore center forward Katera Bonaparte is also new this season for the Lady Pirates. Hazell said Bonaparte is a strong center forward that will not get knocked off the ball. “She is a player that will go 100 percent and not shy away from the tackle,” Hazell said. “She has great speed up top and will be effective when wearing down the back line.”

Last but not least is sophomore goalie MacKenzee Troost. While backing up teammate Sarah Miller last year, Hazell said Troost will be an enthusiastic returning player. Troost had one shutout in the only game she started last season for Boonville. “MacKenzee had one game under her belt last year, but will now be the starting keeper,” Hazell said. “She has a great punt that will help us in the attack to get forward. She will work hard for teammates in goal.”

Hazell said last season to now will be much different considering a lot of newbies to the sport. She said what the fans will see are a new group of players and players that have never played. “This group of girls have grown and improved from the first day we started the season,” Hazell said. “The group has been bringing great excitement to practices and we look forward to the first game. What us as coaches want to see improve is the overall touch on the ball and the knowledge of the game. The big freshmen group we have we want to see develop in the next two years to then be ready for the varsity level as a lot of them have a lot to offer to the program.”