Pirates return five starters, 12 letterwinners for 2020 season
Boonville Pirates soccer coach Kaz Hazell has a goal this season to enjoy each day out on the pitch.
With 20 soccer players suited out for the 2020 season, Hazell will also have the task at hand to rebuild a program that lost eight seniors to graduation.
The good news is that five starters and 12 lettermen return under Hazell for the upcoming season.
The Pirates are also coming off a winning season in 2019 after finishing 10-7-1 overall.
Hazell said the key to the season is learning to come together and play as a team. “Also, finding our team identity,” Hazell said. “If the boys can bring together all aspects of the game, they can be a very tough team to beat.”
Time will tell. The Boonville Pirates soccer team will open the 2020 season on the road on Tuesday, Sept. 1 against the Clinton Cardinals starting at 5 p.m. Two days later, the Pirates will host Class 2 powerhouse Southern Boone on Thursday, Sept. 3 starting at 5.
Hazell said in addition to getting out on the pitch, the goals for the team are to come everyday and improve.
“We want to enjoy all the moments of the season and be a tough team every single night we’re on the field,”Hazell said. “We also want to compete for a district championship.”
Boonville finished the 2019 season scoring a total of 34 goals while giving up 28 goals.
Hazell knows those numbers will have to increase if the Pirates are going to play for another district title. Hazell must also replace the top two scorers from last year in Will Rehagen and Angel Garcia, who had 16 and five goals, respectively. Garcia also led the team with eight assists while Rehagen finished second on the team with three assists.
Of course who better to lean on than four seniors in Jimi Barbarotta, Carter Stumph, Trevor Firman and Kameron Desmond.
Desmond will play the forward position while Barbarotta and Firman will line up at the attacking mid and holding mid positions, respectively. Stumph, meanwhile, will play defense.
While scoring three goals and finishing with two assists in 2019, Hazell said Barbarotta is a strong solid build in the attack that gives the team some height. “Jimi has the ability to shoot from anywhere on the field and will be dangerous going at a defense,”Hazell said. “Jimi can also play as an attacking mid or center forward. He is feisty and is a gritty player on the field. He has great speed to him, which will be tough for the defenses to keep up with.”
Desmond also has the potential to score at any time. While scoring one goal and dishing out two assists last fall, Hazell said Desmond is a player with lots of speed and agility. “Kameron’s got a good feel around the goal and is a good finisher,”Hazell said. “He’s learned how to use his speed to his advantage, which will make it hard for defenses to keep him in front of them. Kameron can be a consistent goal scorer on this team.”
Hazell is also counting on Firman to lead by example. She said Firman shows great leadership skills for the program, and will be an effective holding mid this season with his experience and ability to organize the younger players around him. “Trevor has great skill on the ball and will be a dangerous player in the attack,” Hazell said. “Trevor can play in the holding mid position or as an attack mid if needed.”
Stumph’s role also remains unchanged from last fall. While scoring the winning goal in overtime against Marshall in the semifinal round of the district playoffs in 2019, Hazell said Stumph will do whatever it takes to win. “Carter is an extremely hard worker,”Hazell said. “He gives us size and toughness on the defensive end and has the ability to rally his teammates. His voice in the back line of the defense will be crucial to the success of the team.”
Hazell will also rely on four juniors to play a lot of minutes this season for the Pirates. Hazell said this will be Gage Allison’s first year in goal while Avery Shaw and Brennen Rowe will join Desmond at the forward position. Austin Coleman, meanwhile, will play back row on defense.
While scoring one goal last season, Hazell said Shaw is an outstanding overall athlete. She said with his speed and agility, Shaw will be a huge force on the offensive end. “The opposing teams will have a hard time keeping up with him,”Hazell said. “Once he gets on a breakaway, there is no catching him. His ability to finish will make him a huge threat to the opposing goalies”
As for Rowe, Hazell said he is a coachable player and has been fighting to get back on the varsity roster. “Brennen has a lot of heart and determination on the field,”Hazell said. “He is able to play both sides of the ball and will be a big help on the defensive side of things. Brennen is strong when going into tackles and finds feet when he wins the ball.”
As for Coleman, Hazell said he is an emerging leader for this team and has a positive energy that uplifts his teammates. “Austin is very solid on the ball and a consistent player,”Hazell said. “He has skills on both sides of finishing goals. He will be a dangerous player for this team.”
Allison also hopes to be a dangerous player in a different way this season as the team’s goal for Boonville. While playing behind graduated senior Gabe Lorenz, Allison saw limited action but still recorded one shutout while giving up four goals in 2019.
Hazell said Allison has shown great improvement over the year. “He has quick hands in goal and usually catches the ball instead of knocking it down,”Hazell said. “He is absolutely fearless in goal and is not afraid to come off his line. He has great technique when he comes off his line.”
Other players that will see action this season for Boonville are sophomores Isaac Marriott and Austin Rice and freshman Owen Reynolds. Marriott will play holding mid for the Pirates while Rice and Reynolds will both see action on defense.
Hazell said this is Marriott’s second year on varsity and has been showing tremendous growth at practices. She said Marriott has good defensive skills and is very effective when he gets forward with the ball. “Isaac has good vision on the ball and does an excellent job of distributing out wide to the outside mids,”Hazell said.
As for Rice, Hazell said he is a player who she sees having a big impact on this team. She said Austin is one of the younger players, but he could do very well at distributing the ball to the midfielders from the back. “Austin’s determination to win the ball will really help with our defense,”Hazell said.
Hazell also has high hopes for Reynolds. She said even though he is a freshman, he has huge potential and doesn’t feel like his age will be much of a factor. “Owen has very good foot skills and will be able to see the field very well from the back,” Hazell said. “Owen is a player who could play offense or defense. That being said, he could easily make a run up the field to give us an advantage on the attacking side of the field.”
Although the eight graduated seniors will be deeply missed, Hazell said the returning players this season have some varsity experience, which will be key to help the new players on the field.
“The team this season is much more technically sound on the ball compared to years past,” Hazell said. “They have shown great improvement and growth and look forward to the upcoming season.”