The Capital City Lady Cavaliers don’t return all 11 of their soccer starters this season.
But with nine, it’s darned close.
“We’re bringing back a lot of talent and we’ve got a lot of talent coming in,” Capital City coach Travis Cairer said as the Lady Cavaliers prepare for tonight’s season opener at Camdenton. “We’ll see what we can do.”
Capital City is coming off an 18-6 season that ended with a loss in the finals of the Class 3 District 7 Tournament.
One of the highlights of the season came with the Lady Cavaliers capturing the Central Missouri Activities Conference title. Winning another conference championship is one of the big goals this season.
“That’s one of our goals, be the first repeat champ in girls soccer,” Cairer said. “But there are a lot of quality teams in the conference, there are a lot of big games against those teams.”
Capital City has talent up and down the field.
Natalie Allison, a senior who has signed with Columbia College, returns in goal. Aslyn Marshall, a sophomore, is her backup.
“They split time in the Jamboree and they both did really well,” Cairer said.
Courtney Howe, the Westminster head coach who specializes with keepers, has joined the Capital City staff as an assistant.
“Any time there’s someone who can work with you directly on technical and tactical things is always going to help,” Cairer said.
Three of the four starters in the back on defense return.
Addison Jones, a sophomore, and freshman Mae Krause will start at center backs, Livy Sloan, a senior, will be one of the wing backs, with sophomores Felicity Pendleton or Amaura Austell holding down the other spot.
“We really haven’t solidified things back there, there are some things we need to sort out,” Cairer said.
Rylea Sanning, a senior, is recovering from an injury and will also see time in the back.
“She gave us a lot of good minutes last year, she’s a player that gives you non-stop effort,” Cairer said.
The Lady Cavaliers will play five midfielders, with two being defensive mids. The starters at those two spots are undecided. Among those in the mix are senior Tatum Barger, who is returning from injury, sophomore Kimber Noble, and Austell and Pendleton.
“We’ll be moving some kids around until we sort things out,” Cairer said. “We sometimes struggle with defending counterattacks, we’re hoping that throwing another defensive midfielder out there will help with that. We were good at attacking and counterattacking, but we had problems defending it.
“We hope it turns into something, but you never know.”
The three midfielders will be seniors Brooklynn Greene, Ayanna Clarke and Kaylee Loethen.
Gia Pardalos, another senior, will start at forward.
“We’re going to probably not be back to around 100 percent until about the midseason,” Cairer said. “But that allows some of our younger players to get some good experience by playing good minutes.”
The Lady Cavaliers will play their home games at the school after construction forced the boys team to play at the 179 Soccer Park.
“There will still be some pieces that need to be put together, but we will be able to play here,” Cairer said. “That’s all we care about.”
Capital City’s home opener is scheduled for March 27 against Warrenton.
“We’re excited to get started,” Cairer said.
The Lady Cavaliers were placed in Class 3 District 5 with Bolivar, Camdenton, Jefferson City, Rolla, Union, Warrensburg and Washington.