The State Fair Community College (SFCC) Lady Roadrunners have been busy preparing for the season. Associate Head Coach Dan Martin will take over some of the day-to-day operations for the women's program.
"I think this will be a plus for our women's program," said Head Coach Jaime Beltran. "I will definitely still be involved with our women's program, but I am excited that they will have one person who will have the women's program as their primary focus, as opposed to one person trying to split their time.
SFCC returns 12 players from last season's roster that finished the regular season at the top of the Region 16 standings. The returners include, Hailie Acton and Macie Schuster of Fulton; Ria Kessell of Jefferson City; Sydney Rickel of Lee's Summit; Taylor Winfrey of Marshall; Samantha Curphey and Jorri Toone of Raymore; Andrea Ramos of Saint Robert; Hannah Chapman of Warsaw; Atziry Plascencia and Kimberly Rosas of El Paso, Texas; and Melissa Martinez from Bolivia.
"I feel like a lot of our leadership will come from our midfield," said Martin. "Hailie Acton played almost every minute for us last year. I think she is going to embrace her leadership role this season. I think that Kimberly Rosas and Melissa Martinez will also step up. We lost some pretty good players from last year's team, but I think they can fill those voids."
The squad has added nine newcomers to the roster including, Carin Whittal of Sedalia; Kyleigh Skoufos of Boonville; Maleah Ray of Columbia; Leah Overbay of Harrisonville; Skyler Sweezor of Linn Creek; Briana Balandron of Lone Jack; Christina Vinroe of Wichita, Kansas; Ash Lawson of Australia; and Natalie Clarke from England.
"I think we have a good balance with our newcomers," said Martin. "Leah Overbay is a center back who has an opportunity to flourish in that role. Nataile Clarke seems to be a really good fit in the back line. She comes to us with a lot of experience. We are very excited about her. Maleah Ray who comes to us from Battle High School in Columbia is a solid player as well."
The Lady Roadrunners will open their exhibition season at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14 against William Woods University in Fulton.
SFCC will open the regular season portion of their schedule on Thursday, Aug. 22 when they travel to Kansas City Kansas Community College. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Lady Roadrunners will finish the month of August with three more road matches. SFCC will make their first appearance in Sedalia on Sunday, Sept. 1 with a match against North Iowa Area Community College at Clover Dell Park. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. SFCC will open the home portion of their schedule against St. Louis Community College on Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Fred E. Davis Sports Complex. All of the teams in Region 16 will play each other twice in a home/away format this season. SFCC will make another appearance at Clover Dell Park on Tuesday, Sept. 24, when they take on Metropolitan Community College. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.
"We want to be an attacking team," said Martin. "We want to try to keep our opposition pinned back. That can also change based on our rotation. We have to learn and build around what is going to make them better individually and as a team. If we can attack and attack often, I think that will be the best way to go."
Coach Martin has set two important goals for the women's team this season. The first team goal is to have a winning season and to win Region 16. He also wants his team to continue to build on what has been done so far in the history of the program. He also feels that it important for the women's team to be highly competitive and continue to grow.
"We need to get the players to buy in to our culture and continue to build that team chemistry," said Martin. "They need to understand what this journey is supposed to look like at the end."
Written by David Rohrbach