Soccer signs 10 new women for ’08 season

On Oct. 27, 2007 Missouri Southern Head Soccer Coach Trevor Wachsman bid a fond farewell to seven Lion women at Hal Bodon Field.

With 10 women in their original signing class, they represented the biggest piece of MSSU Women’s Soccer team.

It’s a piece coach Wachsman and assistant coach Alese Woolard have done their best to fill this Spring.

Randi Russell, Stephanie Taylor, Brianna McKenzie, Laura Creason, Kimberly DeRaedt, Michelle Dimza, Shannon Kuhn, Audrey Copenhaver, Kara Hammann and Brianna Ragains have signed on with the Lions for the 2008 season.

The jump from high school to college can be daunting for any athlete. Sophomore Stephanie Heines and junior Nikki Llewellyn both know first hand experience on what it’s like to be a freshman starter for MSSU.

Both Heines and Llewellyn started every game for the Lions as true freshmen. According to Llewellyn, the game from high school was challenging, but the college game is more intense.

“The transition from high school to college soccer is just a little bit different with a faster more physical play,” Llewellyn said.

“For me, it was an adjustment that I made with the help of the upper classmen.”

The void left by the graduating seniors can be felt by the underclassmen. The new challenge is finding players to step up and be leaders, a role

“The seniors left behind some pretty big shoes to fill, but I believe that the 10 freshman we signed will be able to step up to the task,” Llewellyn said.

“It is very important for them to come in ready to play because we are part of a very tough conference with the newcomers in Nebraska Omaha.”

With the numerous All-Area, All-District, All-State accolades this 2008 class brings to the table, parting ways with 5 All-MIAA team selections is still a heavy blow to the Lions.

With such a large signing class in ’08, the Lions look to rebuild their team from the ground up, finding the same winning success they have achieved over the past four years.