COLUMBIA — Hickman freshman Kelsey Mirts had scored nine goals this season entering Monday night's game.
Her 10th came a little past the halfway point of the second half and was the Kewpies’ final goal in their 3-0 win over visiting Smith-Cotton, their second victory over the Tigers in three weeks.
While attending Smithton Middle School, Mirts played in youth leagues and on traveling teams. It was in that competitive environment that Mirts improved her skills and developed friendships with several of her current teammates. This season, Mirts is one of eight freshmen to make Hickman’s varsity roster. She is also the team’s leading scorer.
Needless to say, she has made the move from middle school soccer to high school soccer rather successfully. But she says there is something to be said about the leadership from the upperclassmen on this year’s team.
“The seniors have definitely been helpful in my transition,” Mirts said Monday night.
She says it is their speeches, their hard work on the field and dedication to helping the team improve that distinguish the seniors as the Kewpies’ leaders.
“We have a lot of great senior leaders,” assistant coach Will Ross said. “They come into practice, there’s not a lot of complaining. Just a lot of good work and leading by example.”
It was this group of seniors — Taylor Forsythe, Ana Wilden, Sarah Levin and Adele Fritz — who Monday night’s game honored.
The emotions of the pregame senior night ceremony seemed to carry the Kewpies (10-7-1) throughout the game and propel them to a win. The victory marked the first time the team scored multiple goals since April 26 and the end of a three-game losing streak.
“We have a young team, so this puts confidence back in the team,” Ross said. “We had trouble scoring in the past few games, so putting a few goals up on the scoreboard helps build confidence and momentum heading into districts.”
District competition is set to begin Saturday in Sedalia, but first the Kewpies will play their regular-season finale at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Helias.
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