Howard on first team, Clift on second team, Ross honorable mention.
Three members of the Rolla High School girls’ soccer team have been selected to the Missouri Class 2 All-State Team, it was announced this week.
For the second consecutive year senior forward Nicole Howard was named to the Class 2 All-State First Team. First-time Lady Bulldog all-state selections are junior back London Clift to the second team and junior back Meggy Ross honorable mention.
The girls’ soccer all-state team is selected by the Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association.
The Rolla girls’ soccer squad had one of its best seasons in years in 2014. RHS won the Ozark Conference championship with a 9-0 record, finished 20-5 overall, and was ranked in the Class 2 top-10 throughout the regular season. RHS fell to Class 2 State Tournament semifinalist Jefferson City Helias 2-1 in the Missouri Class 2 District 10 Tournament finals.
“We finished 20-5 - and four of those five losses were to teams currently in the Final Four,” said RHS head coach Mike Howard. “I think we’re pretty well-represented (on Class 2 All-State). We win that Helias game and maybe we have a couple more on there.”
Nicole Howard, who has signed to play at Lewis & Clark Community College, netted 36 goals and 12 assists to pace the Lady Bulldog offense. She became the third player in program history to reach 100 career goals.
Mike Howard said his daughter’s game improved due to the fact that the Lady Bulldogs had more depth and overall talent this spring.
“She had more players around her,” Mike Howard said. “This year we had 10 other good players on the field. That made things easier for her. I takes a lot of weight off her shoulders. Before, we had to win a lot of games 1-0.
“I think because of that she became a lot more unselfish and became a much better passer of the ball. This year she knew other people could score.”
Coach Howard tried Clift all over the field earlier in her career before he found out she was one of the best backs he’s had at RHS.
Clift had three goals and three assists this season.
“As a freshman we had her in the middle,” M. Howard said. “Last year we moved her to the back line and she has been solid on defense. She understands the flow of the game and is a great leader on the back line.
“She might be the best defender we’ve had at Rolla High School.”
It was much the same with Ross. Coach Howard knew he could use her anywhere on the field, but she teamed with Clift and sophomore keeper Katie Hudson to give the Lady Bulldogs a shutdown back line. Rolla had 15 shutouts on the season and a 0.2 goals-against average.
“Going into the season I thought defense could be our strength and I think I was right,” M. Howard said. “I’m not sure if Meggy will play defender next year; we may move her up where she could be more involved in the attack. This year if we got behind we always moved her up.”
Union, of the Four Rivers Conference, had senior forward Bethany Coons selected to the Class 2 All-State First Team.
Named to the Class 3 All-State Team was Waynesville senior defender Megan Morgan, on the second team.
Other Ozark Conference players selected to the Class 3 All-State Team were:
First-team members Camdenton senior forward Whitney Snow, Springfield Glendale senior keeper Kindra Lierz and Springfield Kickapoo senior midfielder Miriam Melugin and second-team members junior midfielder Kasey Opfer of Glendale and senior midfielder Morgan Henry of Camdenton.
Selected Class 1 All-State Honorable Mention was Laquey sophomore midfielder Malaya Skidmore of the Frisco League.