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Ending the regular season 11-5, the Lady Bruins set their sights on districts, which will begin Monday, May 14 at RBHS home field.
The girls’ soccer team will enter the tournament 3-1 in their last four games. The team also has a home field advantage, possibly making their wins an easier goal to achieve in the long run. The Bruins are eager to play in front of their home crowd in pursuit of a district title.
“It’s awesome that we don’t have to travel,” sophomore center mid-fielder Laurie Frew said. “It will be a great atmosphere because our family and friends can be there.”
The Bruins are hopeful their play towards the end of the year will carry into the post-season when it matters most. They look to their senior leaders, Carmen Boessen, Alyssa Fancher and Lexi Bumby, to lead by example, as some of their younger teammates haven’t yet experienced the playoff hype.
“We have a lot more younger girls than we have had in previous years on the team,” Bumby said. “So the seniors have more experience with the pressure in the post-season, so we can help them through that.”
With the help of their leaders, the young players have contributed just as well as the upperclassmen, allowing the team to overcome the three season-ending injuries of junior goalie Aubrie Cornell, senior midfielder Kenzie Jacoby and senior forward Anna Alioto.
“I think we are very strong in all areas. Our players, both starters and non-starters, contribute to the team,” Bumby said. “We’ve had a lot of people step up and play positions they don’t normally play.”
Among those are sophomore Haleigh Fancher who normally plays midfield but has had to switch to defender, as well as senior defender Brett Fuller who had to step in and play goalie for a couple games.
The top seeded soccer players will have a buy into the second round. There, they will face off against the winner of the only first round game, Hickman High School vs. Smith Cotton. Either match-up will be familiar territory for the Lady Bruins as they’ve beaten Smith Cotton 2-0 and HHS twice, 3-1 and 1-0. The games go beyond just competition, though; the age-old rivalry fuels the matches.
“We’d like to play against Hickman again just to prove that we’re better than them, especially after the last time we played them because we didn’t play very good,” senior Katrina Fox said. “The buy helps us to get another practice in to get ready for it.”
As the three-time defending district champs, the Bruins are familiar with success in the post-season. However, the team this year is much younger and inexperienced in the spotlight of the playoffs, which left some asking whether or not they can pull through for the fourth consecutive title. The team expects not just success, but self-improvement.
“I think we are mentally preparing more than physically. We have the talent and skills,” sophomore goalie Madison Boyken said. “I think it’s exciting for [districts] to be here … and our home field is what we are used to and the best memories have been made here.”
By Jackson Dubinski