Rock Bridge sophomore quietly sparks girls soccer team

Friday, May 28, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Lexi Bumby is an “instant spark.”

Rock Bridge girls soccer coach Marc VanDover says the sophomore is a tenacious player who has proved to be a major asset to the varsity team. But he also said Bumby is an “easy player to not notice.”

Class 3 state quarterfinals

Rock Bridge vs. Nixa
WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Waynesville

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“She’s not flashy, but rather listens and asks lots of questions,” VanDover said.

After beginning the season with eight goals as the second-leading scorer on the junior varsity team, Bumby quickly moved up to varsity, where she has netted six goals for the Bruins this season.

“Lexi brings so much energy to the team,” VanDover said. “When I put her out on the field, she doesn’t back down and is not afraid to score ugly.”

VanDover recalled a play during a tournament game against Rolla when Bumby got a foot on the ball that was clearly headed out-of-bounds, redirecting it back to the penalty area with a perfect strike.

“Lexi defends well," VanDover said. "She is always looking to score or make a perfect pass. Her mindset is to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Bumby has played soccer since the first grade, and VanDover says she has a natural ability when it comes to the game.

“Certain players have a knack for putting themselves in the right places to score goals," VanDover said. "They’re intuitive and they hustle, and that’s what gets us lots of goals.”

This knack has helped propel the Bruins further into the postseason.

Rock Bridge won the district title earlier this month, shutting out both Timberland and Troy, and it defeated Rolla to win in sectional and advance to the state quarterfinals where they face Nixa a 1 p.m. Saturday in Waynesville.

VanDover said his team hasn’t prepared for the postseason any differently than it did during the regular season.

“The word we’re preaching right now is ‘focused,’" VanDover said. "We’re going into this with a better attitude. Our practices and games are relaxed, yet serious.”

As for Bumby, she’s advancing further into the postseason with the same mindset.

“I’m a lot more focused,” she said. “I’m going to do everything I can to help my team, and I really think we can get far.”

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