It was a rough opening to the season for the Girls Varsity Soccer team of Festus High School. The Tigers entered the Lutheran St. Charles Tournament to kick off the spring and found themselves on the losing end of the first two games before finally bringing home their first, of what they hope will be many, victories of 2022.
On Monday, March 21st, the Tigers took on the Sullivan Eagles in the opening round. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, up 2-0 at halftime. However, the Tigers roared back to tie the game on two goals by Senior Emily Holt. The first goal came off a pass from Shyanne Hofmeister, and the second goal came by way of a penalty kick. Unfortunately, Sullivan managed to push one final goal past the keeper to hand the Tigers a 3-2 loss. Head Coach Caleb Zustiak commented, “Being led by a solid group of veteran upperclassmen, our many new Varsity players had a strong showing.”
The next day, on Tuesday, March 22nd, the Tigers challenged the Cougars from St. Charles in the second match of the tournament. This game could not have gone worse for Festus, as Junior Jersey Moonier and Senior Alayna Erxleben, both returning starters, fell to injury early in the match, which ended in a 5-0 loss for the Tigers.
However, due to the circumstances, the injuries created openings that gave a few younger players a chance to shine. Noting the positives, Zustiak stated, “Freshman Brynn Moonier, Sophomore Emma Stevens, and Freshman Delaney Schmitt covered new positions exceptionally well as underclassmen. Senior Madison McHawes led the defense, while Caitlynn Johnson and Jocelynn Yates both had excellent games.”
The Tigers, however, didn’t let the bumpy road steer them off course. On Thursday, March 24th, Festus played their final match of the tournament and defeated the Hazelwood Central Hawks 5-1, earning them their first win of the season.
This was a big win as the Tigers managed to avenge a grueling 1-0 loss to the Hawks last season. Despite missing their two injured players, the team played impressive soccer, which included a monstrous performance by Riley Vogel who scored a three-goal hat-trick. Holt continued her run of goals, getting two, as well as earning an assist. Johnson and Riley Zustiak also each contributed with an assist.
This is a young Tiger team with a lot of fight, and their spirits will be high after the big win. Coming up, the Tigers hope to continue their run of improved form with games versus Hillsboro and DeSoto next week.