A four-game winning streak has helped the Roxana girls soccer team turn around its worst start in recent seasons.
Coming off an undefeated run to win the South Central Conference last season, the Shells (6-8-1 overall, 3-1 SCC) won just two of their first 11 games this year.
STLhighschoolsports.com rankings - 4/22/2019 Large schoolsLast Week1. St. Joseph's (11-1)12. Nerinx Hall (9-2-2)33. Parkway West (10-1)24. Laf…
“The start of the season was definitely a challenge for us, especially after losing so many of our starters from last year,” sophomore midfielder Macie Lucas said. “It was about figuring out who works well together and how each other plays. After playing with each other for a while we were able to get comfortable with each other and form a strong bond as a team."
Lucas has a team-high 18 goals and six assists to lead the Shells, who are trying to hit double digits in victories for the fifth consecutive season.
She scored 16 goals last season while forming a dangerous tandem with her sister, Emma, to score 53 goals on the way to the SCC crown and a 16-3-3 overall record.
“Macie is an incredibly calm player with the ball at her feet,” Roxana coach Lori Yates said. “She sees the field well and knows where to put the ball. She is definitely a natural leader on the field. She can find the open players when needed and she also can challenge the defense with her ball skills.”
Yates also said sophomore Halle Davis and junior Kortni Laws have played a big role in helping shore up Roxana's defense.
The Shells have allowed only two goals during their winning streak, including conference victories against Greenville, Litchfield and Gillespie. They play SCC games Tuesday against Piasa Southwestern and Thursday at Carlinville after Monday's nonconference game against Civic Memorial.
“Each game is a new challenge,” Lucas said. “Every player defends differently so it's hard to figure out from team to team when some things will and won't work. The challenge is what makes each game fun and interesting. When it gets difficult, I know I can always count on my team to put balls in the back of the net and to help lift me back up when I'm down.”
EXPLORERS COMING ON STRONG
Alton Marquette also is gaining momentum after a slow start. The Explorers have won six of seven games since starting the season 0-8-1.
The Explorers (6-9-1) scored seven goals in four of those victories and also led at halftime of a 2-1 loss against Althoff (12-4-1).
“I feel that we, as a team, are starting to connect on and off the field,” Explorers sophomore Madelyn Smith said. “We are communicating better, giving greater effor and continuing to find our groove going into every practice and game."
Marquette coach Brian Hoener said he is encouraged by having different offensive options as five players have scored three goals or more.
The Explorers' team lead is nine goals by Emma Anselm.
“The team is playing with a lot of confidence and purpose," Hoener said. "Our early struggles forced us to learn some valuable lessons that have benefited us lately.”
Marquette will host a Class 2A regional at Gordon Moore Park, including a semifinal against Prairie State rival Metro-East Lutheran (1-10) at 5:30 p.m. May 7.
The winner of that game will play in the regional title game at 5 p.m. May 10 against either Wood River (3-11) or Roxana.
UNIVERSITY CITY ON THE PRECIPICE OF GREAT THINGS
Since 2000, University City has toiled to win more than a handful of games per year.
The Lions won 10 games last season — which included a conference title — and eight in 2007. Those totals have been the high-water marks in the last two decades.
That has changed this season for University City (8-4).
“We love to show our community, and ourselves, that our hard work is paying off and that we are improving with every game and every year,” junior Annie Rhoades said.
Brown's scoring total of 57 points (26 goals, five assists) ranks fifth in the area.
“Aaliyah Brown is having a remarkable sophomore year scoring goals,” University City coach Tom Henson said. “The offense, as well as the entire team, has exceeded my expectations for this year. We only returned two starters from last year's team, both defenders, and lost our two leading scorers from last year, so I wasn't sure where our scoring would come from."
TURNAROUND VICTORY FOR RED KNIGHTS
The Red Knights (11-4-2), last season's Class 3A runner-up, are coming off a 2-1 win April 17 at Visitation in a Metro Women's Athletics Association victory. Jones tallied the game-winning goal in overtime.
“We had an outstanding result and we're hoping to play off of that,” Red Knights coach Beth Sims said.
Incarnate Word has won two games in a row since a 1-2-1 stretch in which it scored only one goal, including two shutout losses. That rough patch, however, followed a five-game winning streak after a 3-2-1 start to the season.
• The Meg Herndon Tournament at Summit has games slated for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and features two pools of teams playing a round-robin schedule. In one pool, Eureka, Fort Zumwalt South, Collinsville and Summit will compete for a title. The other sees Incarnate, Lindbergh, Francis Howell and Westminster.
• The 30th annual St. Dominic Soccer Shootout will be played Monday through Saturday with three pools of four teams each. Pool A, which will be primarily played at Francis Howell Central, features St. Charles West, Howell Central, Cor Jesu and Notre Dame. Pool B has Francis Howell North, Timberland, Parkway Central and Ursuline. Pool C features St. Dominic, Fort Zumwalt West, Rock Bridge and O'Fallon.
• The Blue Cat Tournament is co-hosted by Washington and Union and features two pools of three teams. O'Fallon Christian, Borgia and Washington are in one, while Union, Ladue and Pacific are in the other. Placing games are scheduled Friday at Union.
• Last week, the top two teams in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings suffered their first losses of the season. Cor Jesu, behind a first half goal from Olivia Korpecki, upset top-ranked St. Joseph's on Wednesday. Monday, Zumwalt West upended No. 2 Parkway West 1-0 behind a second half goal by Cheing Hai Christen.