WAYNESVILLE – The Lady Tigers were as excited as ever when the girls soccer team hoisted the District 10 title in 2012, the first since the upstart of the program.
Coach Mike Gow was just as enthused to talk about last season's prosperity Thursday, explaining how the team "got better as the season went on."
With a 17-10 overall record, Waynesville outscored opponents 86-27 and gained momentum headed into the final stretch of the year before earning the school's first district title – and that was with a similar team core that returns in 2013.
As a team the Lady Tigers were excited to join forces again after a long offseason of recreational play.
"Right now they're just working on getting back together again because they all go off and play for different teams in the offseason," Gow said of his student-athletes. "Now they're all just coming back. I'm really excited for this season."
As expected Waynesville has high aspirations again in 2013.
"They've set some high goals for themselves and I think that's going to motivate them," Gow said.
Several players return for a fourth campaign including senior midfielder Rhiannon Moore, who recently signed to play college soccer at Kentucky Wesleyan.
"Every girl that we have right now, this year, has started at least some point in a season," Gow said.
Gow listed aspects of Moore's game that earned college recognition.
"A four-year starter, she has great vision, knows how to distribute a ball and is not afraid to take that deep shot," Gow said of Moore.
Other players include Jordan Kilthau, Alexandria Timmons and Kimberly Prior, all defensive specialists who will start on the back line.
Timmons started all 27 games in 2012 and will likely do the same this season.
Gow praised Prior for her parallel speed and her ability to keep opponents away from the net.
Goalkeeper Lesley Larson, a three-sport letterman, is "solid in that position."
Megan Morgan is another three year starter who will see ample minutes at midfielder.
"Our 11 starters are all three- or four-year starters," Gow said. "No matter what grade they're [currently] in, they came in and started as a freshmen."
If Gow could describe his team in one word, it's "fun."
"These girls are just fun to be around and make coaching pleasurable," Gow said. "It's my favorite part of the day."
Because of last season's success, the Lady Tigers hope to not only repeat as district champions, but also earn an outright Ozark Conference title in 2013.
Waynesville finished 7-2 in Ozark Conference play a year ago behind only undefeated Glendale (9-0).
Page 2 of 2 - The squad opened against annually competitive Hickman on Friday and will play again against Fatima today at 12:45 p.m.