The Lady Trojan’s soccer team could be starting from a really good place this year. At twenty-players strong, a large portion of which are standout veterans and promising young players, coach Zachary Kos said last week he was excited for the first game of the season.
“We’ve won districts the past three years for girls on varsity, and we got put into a district with three other Columbia schools and I think that it should allow us to compete for another, fourth straight district title,” Kos said. “Especially with the personnel we have.”
Two of the team’s three top scorers from last year will be returning; a solid midfield player, a goalie and three defensive starters are also back this year.
“My expectation is to at least win a district title, if not win a couple more games in the state tournament,” Kos said.
The depth of the team is better this year, which will allow for moving players around on the game board to exploit the different play styles and skills of opposing teams.
Senior Morgan Bova is coming over from the basketball team, and Kos said she was the leading goal-scorer and led assists last year.
He expects her to continue that level of performance if not improve.
“The bad thing for Morgan is the other schools know who she is now,” Kos said.
Kennedy Thompson is back as well, and is a “crafty player in the middle.”
“[She] works really hard, and her and Morgan play off each other, because Kennedy will win the ball and play Morgan in behind,” Kos said.
Five freshman have been taken onto the varsity team, which is the most Kos can remember in his four-year tenure, which speaks to the player’s quality.
Also sliding over from the basketball team, freshman Maggie Illig will be joining the Lady Trojans on the field.
“Who I think is going to be one of the premier goal-scorers in this conference,” Kos said. “GAC is one of the toughest public school conferences in the state of Missouri in my opinion, and I think Maggie is going to be one of the premier goal scorers in this conference in the next few years. She’s a freshman right now, but you can just tell that she’s played before.”
The team played Timberland on Friday, March 15, and will move on to the Zumwalt Classic Tournament on Monday March 18, Tuesday March 19 and Wednesday March 20 of this week.
The tourney at the beginning of the season is always difficult, Kos said, as everyone on the team learns to play together and the young players get immersed in the varsity experience. Francis Howell Central, which Kos said is always a tough foe, will also be at that tourney, and Troy could play them as early as round two, depending on how things go.
“That would be a big-time measuring stick for us early in the year, to see them,” Kos said.