Hickman’s soccer team still looks unfamiliar to its fans.
Four games in to the season, the Kewpies faithful still didn’t recognize their team Tuesday when Lucas Blount, Nate Bohon and John Doyle played for the first time against Jefferson City. They became eligible to play Tuesday after taking part in the required 14 team practices.
Hickman plays at Parkway Central at 6:30 p.m. today in its first game of the Parkway Tournament. The Kewpies will play two more games at the tournament Saturday.
When only two senior starters returned to the team this season, the Kewpies, who were expecting four other seniors to join, had to resort to an impromptu recruiting effort to bolster their roster.
On the first day of practice, Kewpies coach Jon Strodtman realized more players would need to be brought in.
“We were relying on some kids that just decided that ‘It’s not for me,’ ” Strodtman said. “We were expecting people to show up that didn’t show up.”
Strodtman credits his players for the recruiting effort.
Senior co-captain, Jay Johnson was one of the most active recruiters for the Kewpies’ program. As a sophomore, he worked to convince his friend, Michael Washington to play.
Washington, the starting point guard for the Kewpies last season as a junior, hadn’t played soccer since he was 13., but Washington decided during the winter to play soccer his senior year.
Although Washington lacked competitive soccer experience, his play has resembled that of a returning letter winner. Washington scored the deciding goal in a 1-0 victory against Smith-Cotton on Sept. 7. Against Jefferson City, on Tuesday, he sent a shot that took off like a rocket into the upper right corner of the net, extending the Kewpies’ lead to 3 in their 4-0 victory.
Through four games, Washington and Johnson share the team lead for goals with two each.
While the Kewpies’ 3-1 start might surprise some, their newcomer’s success has not surprised Strodtman.
“I expect much more from them. Sometimes at practice they get pretty frustrated because our coaching staff expects them to give us what they don’t think they have,” Strodtman said. “I think as coaches that’s what we’re here for, to bring stuff out of kids that they just don’t think they have.”
Now that the Kewpies have settled their roster problems, Strodtman said he is looking forward playing in the tournament. He said it will give the team a chance to see their district opponents. Rock Bridge, Jefferson City and Smith-Cotton are also competing in the tournament.