The MHS Blue Eagles are back in the soccer business, and are eager to sail to bigger and better things that await them.
In her first season as the Blue Eagles new head coach, Stacy Hooper will try to turn around a team that last year didn't win a match and that only fielded 12 players.
After getting hired as coach, she used the time allotted during the summer to work with her players. With only six or seven girls showing up, she made phone calls and got more than enough girls to have a team this fall.
The Magnolia Lady Blue Eagle soccer team is pictured, in no particular order: Sydney Smith, Destiny Yoho, Sarah Goddard, Hannah Glow, Stephanie Mullett, Virtue Dantrassy, Krysta Henderson, Shannon Williams, Brianna Young, Kacie Jo Brown, Shannon Hoskins, Allie Ritz, Jasmine Litton, Sofia Herrick, Haley Miller, Hailey Waters, Mandi Theodoro, Mattie Howell, and Head Coach Stacy Hooper. Missing in the photo is Assistant Coach Carla Wade. (Photo by Bruce Crawford)
She now has 18 girls out, four of whom are seniors and two are juniors. However, with 12 underclassmen, the team will need to crawl before it can start sprinting, and Hooper fully understands that.
"We need to learn the game and the basic fundamentals first," said Hooper, "before we can start moving in the right direction, and start winning some games."
Dallas Mullett, Kayla Robinson, Jenny Emch, Cassadi Wells, and foreign exchange student Student Stefanie Tille graduated last year, leaving seniors Sydney Smith, Destiny Yoho, Hannah Glow, and Sarah Goddard, and junior Stephanie Mullett to build a team around. Hooper will need to rely on the underclassmen.
Second year player Shannon Hoskins looks to move from her stopper position to outside mid, but Hooper will use her talents on defense as well, while sophomore Brianna "Lion" Young will be back between the nets once more.
Smith appears to be the more experienced offensive player on the team, while Glow is the more experienced defender who will also see time at the forward slot. Yoho will be the team's stopper, while Goddard and Mullett will start at center mid and sweeper, respectively.
New to the sport of soccer is junior Virtue Dantrassy and sophomore Jasmine Litton, who will offer their services at midfield and/or defense to help the young Lady Eagles grow up in a hurry.
Also new to the sport are sophomores Krysta Henderson, Kacie Jo Brown, and Allie Ritz; and freshmen Sofia Herrick, Haley Miller, Hailey Waters, Mandi Theodoro, and Mattie Howell. "Krysta Henderson is a player," states Hooper. "She is a natural. Everything comes easy for her and she will help us right away. All the girls are great. They work very hard at practice. When I'm with one of the girls showing them something, the other girls are working on their skills, trying to get better."
Helping coach the Eagles is Carla Wade.
The Eagles' first game of the season was against a very tough Weirton Madonna squad Saturday, Aug. 18. The Eagles lost 7-0, but played inspired soccer and never gave up. "The girls are working really hard and I'm very pleased on how they are coming together as a team," said the coach.
You can get a good look at the Lady Eagles when they take on Morgantown Trinity at Hydro Field in New Martinsville Aug. 23 at 5 p.m., before playing their next six games on the road.