The Blue Springs South girls soccer team always seems to be one of the top teams in the Kansas City area, but the district tournament has been a major hurdle in recent years.
The Jaguars last won a district championship during the 2012-13 season.
They have lost to Suburban Big Six rival Lee’s Summit North in districts for the past four seasons and fell to Columbia Hickman in 2013-14. This year, South will look to get over the district hump with a young core of players.
“We lost a pretty good crew and lost a lot of backs and midfielders,” South coach Todd Findley said. “My first thought was we have to find some young players to fill those gaps.
“Luckily for us our freshman group is deep and talented. It might take a little time to get everyone in place where we want them.”
The Jaguars will be led by the dynamic duo of junior forward Brie Severns and junior goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer, both of whom were all-state selections last season.
Severns led the team with 25 goals last season, which accounted for 60 percent of the team’s scoring. The University of Kansas commit also added six assists and had four hat tricks. Werremeyer, a Kansas State commit, made a name for herself as one of the best goalkeepers in the state in her first year as a starter. She had a 1.13 goals against average and a .866 save percentage to go with eight shutouts.
Those two will be the rock for some of the younger players to lean on.
“We’ll probably be a good as we were last year,” Severns said. “I am excited for this season.”
Up top, seniors Logan Abernathy and Courtney Cook will aid Severns.
“Our attack is looking pretty good, but the link between our back line and midfield is pretty young,” Findley said. “It might take a small period of time to get everyone acclimated to the team.”
The Jaguars will have to build the midfield from scratch, and will rely on some underclassmen to fill those roles. Freshmen Maddie Rosenblum, Khaliana Garrett and Emma Robinson could see time there. Braylee Childers, who played some last year, will also contribute in the midfield.
“We have a lot of young talent, we just need to build their confidence up,” Severns said.
Added Findley: “We’re replacing most of our midfield. Some of those freshmen are going to take on key roles in midfield play.”
In the back, Werremeyer and junior defender Mady Geren will anchor the defense. Junior Khiara Cox will also be a factor on defense. Freshmen Mya Trober and Kennedi Hooks are candidates to play at center back.
“It’s different, but it’s still solid,” Werremeyer said of the back line. “We have a couple of girls that are away on vacation. We are throwing a couple of girls back there in practice to see what works. The back line will be pretty young, but I have confidence in them. They will do great.”
Findley said he hopes that his younger players can mesh well with his returning starters, so his team can remain competitive in the Suburban Big Six. If the Jaguars can do that, they could be well prepared for district play.
“Lee’s Summit North has been our Achilles’ heel,” Findley said. “I think fighting those great conference teams like Lee’s Summit West, Park Hill and Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs as a rivalry game and (Raymore-Peculiar) is always good, it’s going to be tough. Our conference is loaded.
“Number one, we want to have a good conference season. We want that to build into our district play and then we want to advance onward, which is our second goal for sure.”
The Jaguars will open the season at 1 p.m. Saturday when they take on Belton in the Platte County Invitational.