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Fire & Ice women's soccer to open WPSL play in June

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Hannah Braun, Fire & Ice Soccer

A member of Fire & Ice's WPSL championship squad in 2017, Hannah Braun is back with the area squad this summer. She's expected to play a key role in the team's midfield. (Will Bramlett photo)

After 10 years, Lindsay Eversmeyer has decided it’s time to focus more on family.

“When I started this, the options for young women who wanted to continue playing soccer during or after college were extremely limited,” said Eversmeyer, who runs and coaches the Fire & Ice squad of the Women’s Premier Soccer League. “I had played in the WPSL and wanted to help other women get that same opportunity. I started Fire & Ice and now, believe it or not, we’re about to start our 10th season. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it and the young ladies who’ve been a part of this team, they will always be family.

“But this will be my last season running the Fire & Ice team in the WPSL. Ten years is a long time and now it’s time for me to put my family first.”

Eversmeyer recently accepted a position with the WPSL to serve as the league’s associate commissioner for the 40 teams in the Central region. This season, her Fire & Ice squad will partner with the Lou Fusz Soccer Club to transition to the WPSL next summer. To aid in that transition, Fire & Ice has added Bry McCarthy as a player/coach.

McCarthy starred at West Virginia University and with the Canadian women’s national team and is the Lou Fusz Girls Academy Player Development Director.

“I’m very excited to have a quality player and coach like Bry on board this summer,” Eversmeyer said. “I’ve been wanting to add her to the roster/staff for the last couple of years. She will add a lot of experience both on and off the field.”

Fire & Ice has enjoyed tremendous success over the years. In 2017, the squad finished 12-0 and captured the WPSL national championship. The squad also reached the WPSL Final Four in 2018. Fire & Ice will enter this season with an all-time record of 64-21-9.

“We’re extremely proud of the success we’ve had,” Eversmeyer said. “This season will be a bit of a transition year for us, but I’m excited about the players we have coming back and the ones we’ve added to the mix. And I’m still looking to add another key player or two before we get the season started.”

Fire & Ice, which sat out 2020 due to COVID, finished 6-5-1 last summer. The squad will open this season on June 4, hosting the Iowa Raptors in a 7 p.m. match at Althoff High in Belleville.

Key returnees for Fire & Ice include veteran midfielder Hannah Braun, who played a key role in 2017 and 2018 and who sat out last year after having a baby. Also back are forward MacKenzie Litzsinger (Summit/SIU Edwardsville), who led the team in scoring last summer with seven goals and two assists; midfielder Sarah Foley, who’s enjoying a big senior season at Belleville West High and who has signed to begin her college career in the fall at the University of Illinois; defender Courtney Vollmer (Belleville West/SIUE); and midfielder Nicole Breese, who starred at Parkway South High and at Illinois.

Newcomers expected to make an early impact for Fire & Ice include forward/midfielder Gracie English (Belleville East/St. Louis University), midfielder Hailey Furio (Arkansas State) and defender Emily Mosier (Farmington/UMSL).

“I have a style I like my teams to play, but a lot of it’s based on personnel,” Eversmeyer said. “And you also have to be ready to adjust as needed. If one style isn’t working in a particular game, you have to be able to counter and hopefully make the needed adjustments.”

The WPSL, which began in 1998, is the longest-running active women’s soccer league in the United States. The league stretches from coast to coast and will include an all-time high of 141 teams this summer. It has squads in 19 of the 20 largest metropolitan areas of the country and also features a pair of teams in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fire & Ice will compete in the Heartland Division of the Midwest Conference and Central Region along with Central Illinois United of Rantoul, Ill., the Iowa Raptors of Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities Rush of Davenport, Iowa and the Kansas City Current Reserves.

Fire & Ice schedule

(Home games in CAPS and played at Althoff High in Belleville. Tickets are $5 with children 8 and under admitted free.)

June 4: IOWA RAPTORS, 7 p.m.

June 5: CENTRAL ILLINOIS UNITED, 2 p.m.

June 11: Iowa Raptors, 5 p.m.

June 12: Quad Cities Rush, 2 p.m.

June 18: QUAD CITIES RUSH, 7 p.m.

June 19: KC CURRENT RESERVES, 2 p.m.

June 25: KC Current Reserves, 3 p.m.

June 26: Central Illinois United, 2 p.m.

July 9: Midwest Conference Playoffs, TBA

July 16-17: Central Region Playoffs, TBA

July 23-24: WPSL Final Four, TBA

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