After an impressive first season, the Tolton girls soccer team is looking to incorporate all of its players as it faces a tougher varsity schedule.
"We were amazed at how well we did last year," head coach Amy Gundy said. "We didn't think we'd score a goal."
The Trailblazers went 7-4-2 during the school's first year of existence. The team, which is a co-op program with Calvary Lutheran of Jefferson City, played as a junior varsity program last year. However, they did play some varsity teams.
While the team transitions to playing tougher competition, Tolton's coaching staff will continue to emphasize fundamentals. Last year, the Trailblazers played nine players with little-to-no previous soccer experience. Gundy said she relies on a core group of five players, all sophomores who have played club soccer together since grade school, to lead the team.
The sophomores have accepted the extra responsibility.
"In games we have to be the coaches because they're not out (on the field)," sophomore Andrea Wikle said.
In addition to these players, Columbia College defender Kory McDonald also helps instruct the team. Gundy said McDonald helps the more experienced players continue to improve.
But the Trailblazers know how to have fun, too. While they want to improve on last year's record and build their program into a small school soccer powerhouse, Gundy always makes sure to coach with a smile and not focus too much on the score.
"(The players) enjoy us a lot because we make them laugh," Gundy said.
Gundy said that if her players are able to improve like they did last year, she thinks they can go far in their first varsity season.
In their first game of the season Friday, against Mexico, Tolton got off to a slow start because they had only been able to practice outside once during the preseason. The Trailblazers went down 0-2 and were trailing most of the game. They were able to tie late in the game before ultimately losing 4-2.
Tolton next plays Monday at Elsberry.