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Thriving Fire & Ice team waits for next shot

Thriving Fire & Ice team waits for next shot

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Fire and Ice soccer

Fire and Ice FC celebrate a win last fall. (Courtesy photo)

Lindsay Eversmeyer was pumped up about the 2020 Women’s Premier Soccer League season. Then again ...

“I tend to get excited whenever a new season rolls around; I guess that’s just my nature,” said Eversmeyer, who has coached the Fire & Ice SC women’s squad since its inception eight years ago. “I’ve come to love the challenge of putting a team together in the preseason and then working to bring it all together as the season progresses.”

But Eversmeyer never got that chance this summer. After tryouts and some early fund-raising efforts, the WPSL season was called off due to the coronavirus.

“Obviously, it’s been a different time and a difficult time for everybody,” Eversmeyer said. “But you have to keep it in perspective, right? People are getting sick and they’re dying because of this illness and that’s what we have to remember. That is what’s important about all this, that’s what really matters.

“For Fire & Ice, we know that at some point, we’ll be back on the field and playing again.”

Since its start in 2013, Fire & Ice has posted a record of 58-16-8 while outscoring opponents 185-65 and posting 33 shutouts. The squad reached its peak in 2017 when it finished 12-0 and outscored opponents 40-5 while capturing the WPSL championship.

Leaders from that team included top scorers Kailey Utley (Pattonville/West Virginia), Kelsey Dinges (Althoff/Miami of Ohio), Rachel Tejada (Triad/Illinois State), and Hannah Kimsey (Concordia University, Ore.), playmaker Katya Hessel (Edwardsville/Lewis & Clark/Missouri), goalkeeper Kindra Liersz (Southeast Missouri) and defenders Cassie Kaiping (Waterloo/McKendree), Kirsten Crabtree (O’Fallon/UMSL) and Lauren Kaempfe (Columbia/Southeast Missouri).

In 2018, Fire & Ice again made a trip to nationals but lost 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders in the semifinals.

Last summer, Fire & Ice finished 9-3.

“This year, I added five or six first-year players to a good group of veteran players,” Eversmeyer said. “There’s no way to know how it would’ve all come together, but I was definitely looking forward to the season.”

Then known as Lindsey Kennedy, Eversmeyer starred at Alton High and played one season at the University of Kansas before finishing out her college career at Harris-Stowe State University, where she still holds six career records. In 2005, she became the first woman to play in the Major Indoor Soccer League as a member of the St. Louis Steamers.

Last year, for the first time, Fire & Ice started competing at the youth level with three girls’ squads. Those teams held tryouts for the upcoming season in early June.

“We want to build slowly and feel like three teams worked well for us last year,” Eversmeyer explained. “We gained experience and we had some really good success. Now hopefully we’ll be able to build on that — if we can have a season.”

For the second year, Fire & Ice has Lori Chalupny as part of its staff. The head women’s coach at Maryville University, Chalupny is a Nerinx Hall High grad who went on to earn All-America honors at North Carolina University three times. She was part of a U.S. gold medal-winning squad at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and won a bronze with the U.S. at the 2007 World Cup in China. She also won gold with the U.S. team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“Adding Lori has been a real plus for our program,” Eversmeyer said. “She obviously knows the game and has played it at the highest level. On top of that, she’s outstanding with the young girls, so approachable and so knowledgeable.”

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