Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

All-Metro Team Reflects Gains in Girls Soccer Athletes Are Starting Sport Earlier

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

All-Metro Team Reflects Gains in Girls Soccer Athletes Are Starting Sport Earlier

Article excerpt

The quality of girls soccer in St. Louis just keeps getting better as the players' experience and skill steadily rises.

"The girls are picking up the game at a young age and they're playing a lot of select soccer," said Nerinx Hall coach Tim Champion, who also coaches the women's program at Lindenwood College. "Coaching at the lower levels has improved, so the girls coming into the high school programs are more prepared to step in and contribute right away."

That high level of talent is reflected in this year's All-Metro girls soccer team, which was chosen by a board of area coaches. Here is a look at the first-team selections:

Ashley Woodall, Oakville goalkeeper, senior: Another in a long line of top keepers from Oakville, Woodall posted 15 shutouts this season.

"In terms of positioning and technique, she can do it all," Oakville coach Dave Robben said. "One of our ex-keepers, Kelly Hearne, worked with Ashley this season and it really helped. They were able to focus on some of the finer points of goalkeeping and it showed in Ashley's play from game to game."

Woodall has accepted a softball scholarship to the Unviersity of Missouri-Columbia.

Patti Anderson, Howell North defender, senior: The anchor of a defense that produced 22 shutouts, Anderson was a four-year starter at sweeper for the state champion Knights.

Anderson, who will attend Butler University, also contributed two goals and 10 assists this season.

"Patti has skill, poise and she knows the game," Howell North coach Dan Hogan said. "But the thing that I loved about Patti was that she was never satisfied with her play. Throughout her career, she worked and improved on the finer points of the game. She's really an outstanding player."

Mandy Pavlovits, Incarnate Word defender, junior: A true midfielder, Pavlovts played sweeper as a sophomore and moved to stopper this year. In both seasons, she's earned All-Metro honors.

"I think it's a real credit to Mandy that she's been able to excel while doing what's best for the team." Incarnate Word coach Andy Lodes said. "The plan for next year is to move her to midfield. That's when you'll see just how skilled and talented Mandy is."

Pavlovts, who had three goals and seven assists this season, missed six games this season because she was traveling to Sweden with the under-17 Olympic Development Program.

Katie Stewart, Kennedy defender, junior: Another repeat first-teamer, Stewart led the Celts with nine goals and three assists. She was the team's sweeper.

"Katie's battles with Rosary's Janece Friederich and Trish Underberg of Aquinas-Mercy were really something to see," Kennedy coach Tom Rapp said. "Katie has the ability to play the game a number of different ways. She's skilled and poised enough to play finesse soccer, but she's also tough enough to play a physical style, if that's what's needed.

"She's an intelligent person and a gifted athlete."

Sara Burkett, Incarnate Word midfielder, senior: A two-time All-Metro performer, Burkett established herself as one of the area's most dangerous players this season, finishing with 32 goals and 16 assists.

"This was by far Sara's most prolific year for scoring," Lodes said. "She's a dominating player who can score, pass, control the ball and play great defense. And Sara really seemed to step up and play her best games against the tougher teams on our schedule."

Burkett has signed with Clemson University.

Katie Hornburg, Nerinx Hall midfielder, junior: Another two-time All-Metro selection, Hornburg literally did it all for the Markers, who finished third in state. …

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