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MTZ girls soccer looks to build off last year

Maddie Kendall gets a touch on the ball in a drill in a Mt. Zion girls soccer practice.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

Last year, Mt. Zion girls soccer went 17-6 and finished third in the Apollo Conference and lost in a regional final. This year, the Braves want to be right back in the top-tier of the Apollo and competing for a regional championship.

Head coach Jonathan Moore said that in the first week of practice the energy has been positive and the nice weather has helped make it feel great to be back in season. Coach Moore said that in the off-season and in the first week of practice, the Braves have focused on getting a lot of touches on the ball and working on their first touch and control of the ball that will eliminate turnovers.

The Braves lost center defensive back and goalkeeper Macie Fleming, winger Wrigley Donahue and goalkeeper Denver Anderson. While the goalkeeper position is still up for grabs, the Braves return a lot of firepower.

The Braves return utility player Mackenzie Krieger. Krieger can play center defensive back and up-top and was top-two in goals scored last year. Maddie Kendall was the other top-two goal-scorer last year as well and she is back for her sophomore season. The Braves also return seniors Chloe Davis, Boston Flanigan and Isabelle Holmes who are all expected to make huge contributions to the team.

“We have to score goals this year, plain and simple,” Coach Moore said. We have to find other people that can find the net. I’m hoping Maddie Kendall and Boston Flanigan have a great season and that we find that net more often, because last year we struggled to score and it puts a lot of pressure on you defensively.”

The team is composed of mostly sophomores and freshmen along with a combined eight seniors. Coach Moore wants the leaders of his team to make this a positive experience for his team.

“We just talk about making this a positive experience and that team chemistry is so important and that funnels down from our seniors, but the other ones gotta buy in too,” Coach Moore said. “And whether it’s going out to eat together doing things off the field together and we preach a lot about being a good student and good student-athlete, being a leader in the building as well. And I think we have a great group of girls for that.”

Davis has taken on the leadership role of motivating players while keeping everyone together and not letting any players fall behind. Davis plays left-defensive back and individually wants to improve defensively and a team goal is for the team to play well together and work together. Davis wants her lasting mark after her senior year to be as a good motivator and a good leader that the younger teammates can look up to her and other seniors.

Flanigan had a similar team goal and that is to become unified. Flanigan said her role in the off-season was getting everyone together including the incoming freshman to become more unified and learn about each other. Flanigan’s individual goal for her senior year is to get better and not mess up in games and wants to be remembered as a good player and good teammate.

Coach Moore’s overall message to readers and the community is to come out and support his team.

“I would encourage people to come out and support them and come out on a beautiful day out here on the turf and, and watch them because they’re fun to watch,” Coach Moore said. “They play hard, they’re encouraging to each other and they’re fun to watch. So I just ask people to come support them. “

The Mt. Zion girls soccer team will open its season on March 14 against Pleasant Plains in the St. Teresa Tournament at 6 p.m.

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