The Camdenton Lady Lakers are preparing for their 2013 spring soccer season, despite the wild Missouri weather's best attempts to keep them indoors.
"We're actually very fortunate," Coach J.D. Hunter said during the Lady Lakers' third outdoor practice of the season. "Jefferson City, Southern Boone, Columbia and other schools haven't been outside yet. We've just been making the most of it, and getting outside when we can. It's been pretty cold and miserable, though."
"We'd rather be outside than inside," said junior Whitney Snow.
The Lady Lakers could be found outside last week for their first night of practice, working through drills as sleet and rain came down on Monday night, in what would eventually become the snowstorm that closed lake area schools for the majority of the week.
Now, with a MSHSAA deadline approaching, the team is anxious to be on the field and fulfill its required 14 practices before their first game of the season.
Despite a slow 2-4 start, The Lady Lakers finished their 2012 season with a 17-8-1 overall record after a nine-game winning streak and claiming two regular season tournament championships, but fell just short of a repeat district championship.
The team lost a number of seniors, with the two most notable being goalkeeper Cassie Hale and defender Allison Halderman. Despite their losses, the team brings back their top seven goal scorers, including the incredibly tough duo of Whitney Snow and Miriam Taylor, who were named the All-District co-offensive players of the year. Factor in Morgan Henry, who's top-notch vision and passing enabled her to finish the season with 18 assists and 11 goals, and the offense looks stacked.
"We've got a lot of players back," Coach Hunter said. "We've got the foundation. So many of our players put so much time in the off-season and came in ready to play. We're worried about our depth a bit, but we're just hoping we can figure things out and keep going. Very happy with our efforts so far."
The question for the Lady Lakers is not how well the offense will play, but how well the defense will perform. With a new goalie in the net, the Lady Lakers show some inexperience in the backfield. But the coaches seem optimistic about their squad, and Coach Hunter says he has faith that goalie coach Rick Calbert and the defenders' coach Jason Ingold will find the right players and put them in the best position to succeed.
The team has a number of goals for the season, but the one that seems to be on everyone's mind is the drive to win the district title.
"We want to make sure we are better at the end than we are in the beginning, make certain we are healthy in May, and make a run in the state playoffs, just like every team in Missouri does," Hunter said. "Anything less would be considered unsuccessful."
Page 2 of 2 - That may be easier said than done, since the team's district features three other teams who have been close matches for the Lakers last season.
"We're down to a four team district, just like all of the Class 3 districts, and we are the smallest school in our district. We play against Lebanon, Jefferson City and Waynesville, so really, you could pick a team out of a hat and one of them could come out of districts."
They may have a tough district, but the Lady Lakers' drive to play has already outlasted the weather. Now, they just have to outplay their opponents.
Sun, 3/16/13 @ Hickman Waynesville
Fri, 3/15/13 @ Fatima Waynesville
Sat, 3/16/13 @ Hickman Waynesville
Tue, 3/19/13 5:00 PM Springfield Catholic Camdenton
Fri, 3/22/13 5:00 PM @ School of the Osage
Mon, 3/25/13 5:00 PM Sacred Heart Camdenton
Tue, 3/26/13 5:00 PM Marshfield Camdenton
Thu, 3/28/13 5:00 PM Stover -- CHS JV ONLY Camdenton
Mon, 4/1/13 5:00 PM Nixa Camdenton
Tue, 4/2/13 4:30 PM @ Hillcrest Springfield
Thu, 4/4/13 5:00 PM @ Glendale Springfield
Tue, 4/9/13 5:00 PM @ Waynesville Waynesville
Thu, 4/11/13 5:00 PM @ Jefferson City Jefferson City
Fri, 4/12/13 @ TBA -- Moberly Tourney Moberly
Sat, 4/13/13 @ Moberly Tourney -- TBA Moberly
Tue, 4/16/13 5:00 PM West Plains Camdenton
Thu, 4/18/13 5:00 PM Rolla Camdenton
Tue, 4/23/13 5:00 PM Parkview Camdenton
Fri, 4/26/13 Camdenton Tournament Camdenton
Sat, 4/27/13 Camdenton Tournament Camdenton
Tue, 4/30/13 5:00 PM Kickapoo Camdenton
Thu, 5/2/13 5:00 PM Joplin Camdenton
Fri, 5/3/13 5:00 PM @ Lebanon
Thu, 5/9/13 5:00 PM Bolivar Camdenton
Sat, 5/11/13 @ Districts Start