Coming Back From COVID-19: Camdenton girls soccer looking for bright future
The “Coming Back From COVID-19” series will focus on spring sports programs at Camdenton, Osage, Eldon, Versailles, Macks Creek and Climax Springs who saw their seasons stripped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. The series will highlight how these programs handled those tough times and their return to action.
It was not very long ago when Camdenton was playing for a district championship on its own pitch.
In 2019 the Lakers finished 11-12-1 before bowing out to Ozark Conference foe Rolla in that district championship game, but it could have served as a stepping stone for the next season if the COVID-19 pandemic did not come along and take it away completely.
The past cannot be changed, but there may be some reason to look towards the future as the Lakers get ready for a brand new season and make their return for the first time in two years under new Head Coach Tyler Sevon who also led the boys last fall.
“It means a lot for the girls to finally get to play a season they deserve for working hard for such a long time,” Sevon said ahead of a brand new campaign. “We lost a big group of seniors that didn’t get to have their senior season, so we are a young group learning valuable lessons every day at practice and look forward to growing as a team throughout the season.”
The Lakers lost some talent in Aeryn Kennedy, Stormy Sweezor and Abby Ballew who all earned their fair share of postseason accolades, including Kennedy’s selection to the All-State Second Team. Emme Thompson, Cordelia Dallam, Jasmin Gopar-Hernandez, Amelia Martin, Magie Wayman and Nia Onarhelm also brought some valuable veteran experience.
But, there is some talent coming back in senior goalkeeper Sydney Smith, junior midfielders Allison Johns and Natalie Gahn, junior defender Alexa Rapler and sophomore midfielder Ella Smith.
“Sydney has great hands and the ability to make any save needed, Allison sees the field really well and is a great playmaker who can make the game easier for her teammates or go to goal by herself when she needs to, Natalie is strong in the wing and might see some time at striker, Alexa is a strong defender who can distribute the ball well out of the back and Ella is really strong on the ball and is a great playmaker who has a very good and hard shot on goal,” the coach pointed out.
The program also had the privilege of adding a few transfers to the mix in senior defender Ella Demott, senior midfielder Olivia Brown and junior midfielder Gracie Coffelt .
“Ella is one of our main anchors on the back line and is always prepared to make a play on the ball, Olivia has great vision and is an excellent distributor and Gracie has good speed and will be a wide (midfielder) playmaker,” Sevon said of the new kids in town.
Then, there is the future with five freshmen who could make an impact this season. Addyson Clay, Makenna Brauer and Nikki Sutterer are amongst the new defenders and both Lilli Sutterer and Zoe Lockhert will see some time at midfield.
“Addyson is fearless and never backs down from a challenge, Makenna is a great tackler and distributes really well, Nikki is confident n the ball and sees the field well, Lilli has good ball skills and looks to pass first and Zoe is super aggressive and always looking to make the right play,” Sevon added.
“Our freshman class is very strong and I am very excited to get them varsity minutes early and often to see how quickly they can adjust. I am extremely excited about our team as a whole and am liking how we move the ball and defend early on in practice so far.”
Speaking of practice, the coach said the tactics and start to the season are no different than any other, but there is an extra sense of appreciation out on the field with a full slate of games to look forward to.
“Losing that season as a coach definitely makes me more grateful for what a ‘normal’ season’s trials and hardships can be. I think the girls really feel that appreciation as well and are taking every opportunity to play and using that to their advantage.”
Now, it is time to get to work.
“Losing the entire spring 2020 season just puts the girls at a disadvantage of game experience and with us being a heavy underclassmen team, we don’t have a lot of that. Every school dealt with this, so it isn’t just us, but we will have to adjust to the speed of play quickly to be successful,” the coach said. “Very much looking forward to this season and I think we will be very competitive.”
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-346-2132