Jacksonville Daily Progress
It has been said many times in the world of sports that timing is truly everything.
With six starting spots up for grabs due to graduation losses, Jacksonville Fight'n Maiden soccer coach Kiff Wiemers is ecstatic that he has a plethora of candidates to choose from in filling those roster spots.
“We have 50 girls out for soccer, so for the first time in a long time we will be able to field three teams,” Wiemers said at the start of Monday's practice at Mauldin Field. “I was a little nervous when practice first started two weeks ago because we lost six seniors that had started for the the past four years, but when you have about 30 incoming freshmen to choose from to replace those girls it makes the situation a little more tolerable.”
Some of the key returnees include goal keeper Callie Reagan, midfielder/forward Kennison Chambless, forward Rachel Stirneman and defensemen Jasmin Rodriquez and Gentry Hammons.
“Callie finished strong for us last year, and Rachel has looked good coming off of the ball during practice,” Wiemers said. “With a couple of JV move ups and with some of our freshmen, I anticipate that we will be able to fill our holes adequately.”
Wiemers said that the large turnout of quality players is because of two reason.
“I would like to think that the success that our program has had through the years makes playing Fight'n Maiden soccer something that a lot of our girls want to take part in,” Wiemers said. “Also the overall popularity of soccer in East Texas is growing rapidly. I was surprised at the ease I had in finding schools that, like us, have enough girls for three teams.”
UIL realignment has Jacksonville playing in Region III once again.
Center, Diboll, Lufkin Hudson, Nacogdoches and Palestine will join Jacksonville in District 35.
Wiemers said that his team nemesis, once again, should be the Lady Dragons from Nacogdoches.
“Nac is our big question mark,” he said without hesitation. “Can we beat them this year? They have been the thorn in our side since I have been here. We have only tied them once since I've been here.
“In our reloading process we may actually end up being a better team; time will tell, so maybe we will have enough to beat them.”
Wiemers said that he will use the non-district matches — which get under way on Jan. 4, 2013 when the Maidens travel to Lindale — to introduce some new formations, and to get a better idea of who can do what in while playing a given position.
“We'll have some moving around with so many new players coming in, but by the time district rolls around we should have everything sorted out,” Wiemers said.
Speaking of district, the Maidens will host Nacogdoches at 7 p.m.on Feb. 12 to commence the loop portion of the schedule.
The Jacksonville girls will once again play in the Athens Tournament (Jan. 18-19) and the Hallsville Tournament the following weekend.
Jacksonville's first home match is slated for Jan. 22, when Athens comes calling.
A new addition to the coaching staff will be Corey Spoon, who will be taking over as coach of the junior varsity team.