Injury bug bites Mehlville girls before start of 2006 soccer season

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Before the 2006 season even started, the Mehlville Senior High School girls’ soccer team was bitten by the injury bug.

Senior midfielder Lauren Spurr potentially is out for the rest of the season due to an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament.

The Panthers also may be without junior defender Catrina Salama for the season due to a torn meniscus.

“Lauren really came into her own at the end of last year and she’s the kind of player that plays with a lot of passion,” Mehlville head coach Scott Jackson told the Call. “If we could get her back at the end of the season at even 80 to 90 percent, she could really help us.”

“Catrina’s someone that looks forward to practicing and playing the game,” Jackson said. “She really plays the game because she loves the game.”

Despite the loss of Spurr and Salama for most, if not all, of the season, the Panthers return a great deal of talent from last year’s squad that went 13-8-1 overall with a 2-5-1 mark in Suburban West Conference play.

“We really had high hopes going into the season,” Jackson said. “I still think we’re going to be competitive.”

The Panthers return their leading scoring threat, junior midfielder Christy Capkovic, who recorded 26 goals and 10 assists last season.

“I don’t think that she (Capkovic) is going to catch people off guard like she has the past two years,” Jackson said. “She’s really going to have to do some of the little things that you need to do in order to help the team out besides scoring goals.”

Accompanying Capkovic in the midfield will be sophomores Erica Jolly and Ashley Becker.

Jolly recorded two goals and two assists for the Panthers last year.

“Erica started in every game for us last year as a freshman,” Jackson said. “She’s basically going to play a defensive midfield position for us this year.”

Becker saw limited action last season as a freshman, but Jackson believes that after she moved up to the varsity squad last season, she played the midfielder’s role as if she were a veteran.

“When Ashley came up to the varsity team, she played as if she was there all year long,” Jackson said. “She’s going to be asked to work a lot of minutes in the middle of the field this season.”

Courtney Spurr returns at the striker position this season after the sophomore recorded three goals and four assists as a freshman.

“Courtney started the season strong right off the bat last year,” Jackson said. “She needs to get into the double digits in goals scored this year.”

Another sophomore who returns up top for Mehlville is forward Brittnay Shelton, who amassed three goals and one assist last season.

“Brittnay’s slowly developing and has got the ability to take over a game but lacks the confidence,” Jackson said. “She’s someone that can really do some damage this season.”

In the backfield are juniors Jessica Bartolacci and Lisa Vaughn, who look to be the cornerstones of the Mehlville defense.

Bartolacci scored two goals and two assists last season as a marking back.

“Jessica’s getting opportunity to be a full-time player and she did a great job in the first game of the season,” Jackson said. “Lisa is a transfer from Rosati-Kain and has got pretty good ball-handling skills.”

Senior Melissa Giorgi and junior Michelle Smith will compete for the starting goalkeeper’s job this season after Giorgi posted a 7-4 mark last season with a 2.00 goals-against average. Smith was 6-2-1 overall with a 1.15 goals-against average.

“Both goalies have the ability to keep us in the game,” Jackson said. “I hope that Melissa can continue to work hard since she missed practice time during spring break.”

The Panthers are in action at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Lindbergh.