Lady Pirates soccer team looks to improve in 2021
Boonville girls soccer coach Kaz Hazell is making it easy for the Lady Pirates this season.
After losing all of 2020 due to COVID-19, Hazell said the outlook for the 2021 season is to improve every practice and game as they have a lot of new people out for the program.
“We want to see the players gain more knowledge of the game and continue to develop for the years to come,” Hazell said.
With 26 student-athletes suited out for the upcoming, Hazell said the key will be for the Lady Pirates to continue to show up and put in the work to get better as a team.
Hazell added that the first goal of the new season is to get better with their overall touch and keeping possession when they have it. The second, she said, is the teams spacing on the field. As for the third, Hazell said is to continue to grow and develop as a program for the future with that being the long term goal.
As for the strenghts of the team this season, Hazell said it has to be the willingness to learn and work for each other. She said the girls this year are new to the sport and have been supportive of one another.
“Our weakness would be the amount of new players to the sport,” Hazell said. “We have five players who have actual game experience. When the pandemic hit we were unable to get some games under our belt and put us back on developing the players from last season to this season.”
The Lady Pirates will find out soon enough where they are against some of the best teams in the area. After the season opener against Hickman on March 23, Boonville will travel to Ashland for a conference matchup against the Southern Boone Eagles on March 25. Then, on April 1, the Lady Pirates will host another Class 2 powerhouse in the Pleasant Hill Roosters.
Hazell said the match against Hickman will be a tough game to start the season. “I know my seniors will hold the other players accountable,” Hazell said. “I want the players to keep their heads held high after the game, if things do not go our way as this will be some players first game ever. I am confident that they will give their best effort and stay together as a group.”
Since the first practice on March 1, Hazell said the biggest thing she has noticed in the girls is their willingness to learn about the game. She said they are constantly asking questions and committed to working for their teammates. “Their energy at practices has been extremely high and it’s clear to us coaches they are excited to play a season,” Hazell said.
With no season to speak of in 2020, Hazell will look to a combination of old and new players this season with Olivia Gholson returning for her third season. While playing outside mid this season, Gholson finished the 2019 season with two goals and seven assists for the Lady Pirates.
Hazell said Gholson is an effective outside mid with her speed and skill on the ball. “She is a player that likes to get down to the end line and create crossing opportunities for us,” Hazell said. “Olivia is one of the most experienced players on the team and offers a lot of feedback to her teammates. She is all about her players success and helping them better understand the game.”
No other player scored a goal from the 2019 team for the Lady Pirates.
Other players returning with experience like Gholson are junior Nora Morris at the center back position, senior Macey Nowlin at holding mid and MacKenzee Troost at goal keeper.
Hazell said Morris played as a midfielder but has since been moved back into the center back position. She said this will be Morris year of playing soccer and has improved her game tremendously. “She is strong in the air and will work well next to Madison,” Hazell said. “These two players next to one another have been good at practice and look forward to what they can do in season.”
Nowlin also saw action in 2019 but has moved up into the holding position because she has a lot to offer both defensively and offensively. “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.”
As for Troost, the junior keeper recorded one shutout in 2019. Hazell said Troost will be an enthusiastic returning player. “She had one game under her belt last year, but will now be the starting keeper,” Hazell said. “MacKenzie has great size in goal and strong hands. She has a great punt that will help us in the attack to get forward. She will work hard for teammates in goal this season.”
Senior Kaylin Hartsock will also give the Lady Pirates experience this season at the outside back position. Hazell said Hartsock is a voal player in the back. “Kaylin will help direct where people should be and is constantly organizing those around her,” Hazell said. “She has stepped up big time as a senior and has been guiding our younger players. She also will be playing in the attack as well when possible.”
Freshman Ava Esser will play opposite of Gholson at outside mid.
Hazell said Esser is the only freshman on the field and is new to the sport. “Ava has a great work ethic on the wing and has good endurance to get up and down the field in her position,” Hazell said. “We look forward to seeing her play and watching her improve as she has really shown great things at practice.”
Also, playing outside back is sophomore Leah Ziegelbein. Hazell said Ziegelbein is another player that has shown great progress and has a great work ethic. “Leah is strong defensively and when she wins the ball on a tackle, she looks to connect a pass,” Hazell said. “She has good skill as a defender and is able to get forward in the attack.
At holding mid, Hazell will look to sophomore Hailee Williams. Hazell said Williams is one of the more attacking minded players in the holding mid position. “Hailee has great endurance and will be able to get up and down the field to be involved on both sides of the ball,” Hazell said. “Hailee has a good skill base to use for going at players and being dangerous on the dribble. She reads the field well and will work well next to Macey.”
Hazell said sophomore Abby Fuemmeler will also be a huge asset in the midfield for the Lady Pirates. Hazell said Fuemmeler is a crafty player on the ball and is able to run at people and create some dangerous plays. “Abby has a lot to offer in our attack and look forward to seeing her play,” Hazell said.
Rounding out the final two positions for Boonville are sophomores Madison Smith and Peyten Black. Smith will play the center back position for Boonville, while Black will get the starting nod at forward.
Hazell said Smith has picked up the game fairly quick, especially with her athletic abilities. “Madison’s height and her being vocal in the back are two things that have stuck out tremendously,” Hazell said. “She is not afraid to organize the girls in the back and take charge.”
As for Black, Hazell said Peyton is very aggressive and does an outstanding job of hunting down the ball. “Peyten’s work rate speaks for itself when she is on the field,” Hazell said. “Peyten is always involved in the play when it is the attack and is looking for the shot when she can.”
Boonville Lady Pirates Soccer Schedule
3-25-at So. Boone, 5
4-1-PLEASANT HILL, 5
4-5-at Oak Grove, 5
4-13-CAPITAL CITY, 5
4-15-at Fatima, 5
4-20-St. Paul Lutheran-JV only, 5 p.m.
4-22-at Clinton, 5
4-27-at Stover, 5
4-30-Boonville Shoot Out, 6 p.m.
5-1-Boonville Shoot out, 11 a.m.
5-4-at Marshall, 5
Note: Home meets in caps.