Panthers poised for breakout season; second-year coach extends progress


For the Call

After suffering a record of 31-43-10 over a six-year span, the girls’ soccer team at Mehlville Senior High School is poised for a breakout season.

The Panthers put together a record of 9-10 last season under first-year head coach Scott Jackson after going 0-12 during the 2003 campaign. Mehlville is looking to tally its first winning season since 2002 when the Panthers went 6-5-4 with a 3-3-1 mark in Suburban West Conference play.

With a good number of players returning from last year’s squad, the Panthers could continue to progress.

“We’ve got pretty much the main nucleus from last year’s group along with some freshman and a transfer,” Jackson told the Call. “I think we’re pretty solid and the de-fense overall is going to be pretty good.”

Mehlville returns its leading goal scorer from last season in sophomore Christy Capkovic, who racked up 15 goals and five assists. Three of Capkovic’s 15 goals were game winners.

“Christy’s going to have a little more support up top than she did last year,” Jackson said. “She’s a big time player that played in just about every game last year.”

Also returning for her fourth season on the varsity squad is senior midfielder Allison Shaughnessey, who recorded four goals and 10 assists last season. She has 10 goals and 14 assists over a three-year span.

“Allison is an exceptional ball handler and a really good player,” Jackson said.

Senior Lisa Krost returns to the Panthers this year as a midfielder and defender. The four-year member of the varsity squad is known for her tough attitude on the field.

“Lisa’s toughness and grit is second to none,” Jackson said.

The Panthers also have seniors Cara Stuckle and Jessica Hawkins at the midfielder position.

“Cara’s got good ball skills so we’re going to put her in the midfield with Shaughnessey and Krost,” Jackson said.

“Jessica’s the type of player that does the little things that we always preach about.”

Senior Alana Wuertz is another four-year member of the varsity squad and is expected to be one of the cornerstone’s of the Panther defense. In fact, Jackson believes Wuertz will storm the college ranks.

“Alana’s natural position in college is going to be sweeper,” Jackson said. “She knows when to lead and her play will help the others on defense.”

The goalkeeper position is the only question mark. Junior Melissa Giorgi and sophomore Michelle Smith will share playing time early in the season. Giorgi was 5-3 last season with a 2.00 goals-against average while Smith accumulated a record of 0-3 with a 2.00 goals-against average.

“It’s our biggest question mark going into the season,” Jackson said. “We’re probably going to platoon them for the first few weeks of the season.”

Mehlville opens the 2004 season at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as the Panthers travel to Hillsboro for a non-conference meeting with the Hawks.

“I have a feeling that their field is going to be small and that they’re going to be a pretty rough team,” Jackson said.