Kewpies test new lineup

Thursday, March 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:47 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It is not often that teams sit down for fruit and cookies after a game.

Soccer players switching teams at halftime and not wearing uniforms are also rare.

The Hickman Purple and Gold game, which the purple team won 2-0 on Wednesday, was less about formalities and more about gauging the Kewpies’ progress in the preseason.

“I’ve seen improvement since the last time we scrimmaged, which was last Saturday,” Hickman coach Sandy Paulsen said.

Shelly Forbis, a forward/midfielder, and Brittany Sharp, a defender, scored for the purple team.

Paulsen said one of the most important parts of the scrimmage was for the players to become more comfortable playing together after an offseason spent on different club teams.

“We’re basically seeing how they’re gelling together,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen said this is something she goes through every year.

“When you first start every year, unless you have many, many kids returning, you have to repiece everything,” Paulsen said.

Although there were several errant passes and turnovers in the scrimmage, Sharp said the players are becoming more comfortable with each other.

“I think we’re really starting to come together,” Sharp said.

One thing the Kewpies are trying to get comfortable with is their new formation. The team will play with one forward, five midfielders and four defenders this year, which Forbis said takes getting used to.

“By the time the season starts, I think we’ll have it down,” Forbis said.

In the new formation, both offenses had trouble breaking through the defense and getting shots on goal.

Paulsen said that was more a result of play than formation, though.

“We’ve got to work more on taking the ball to the goal,” Paulsen said.

Forwards Amy and Jodi Bolerjack will probably help with that. They played on the Hickman girls’ basketball team that ended its season Saturday and did not play in the scrimmage.

Hickman’s first test as a team will not come until March 26, when it plays in the Rolla Tournament. The Kewpies will face Union, Rolla and West Plains in the tournament.

Paulsen said she does not know what to expect from the tournament.

“When you go to these preseason tournaments, you never know what anybody’s got,” Paulsen said.

Sharp said the team will have plenty to work on until then.

“There’s always room for improvement,” she said.

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