Coach Nick Schmitt was kind enough to touch bases with me last week to provide an update on the West Plains Zizzers and their upcoming season. The big news “in the WP” should be better defined later this week – when District assignments are announced. The Zizzer’s will be competing in Class 2 Boy’s soccer this season and when you combine their strength of schedule, playing in the Ozark Conference, and the balance they appear to have this season, they should be setting high goals for themselves.
Replacing a player of the caliber of Nick Dryden, who is now working hard on the practice fields at Missouri State, is not done easily. For the Zizzers, the key will be spreading responsibility over a large base. Starting with eleven seniors (pictured above L to R – Front Row, Logan Ray, Dustin Smith, Cody Townsend, Michael Harrington. Back Row – Cameron Czerwonka, Dalton Gleghorn, Kyle Martin, Kenneth Knight, Zach Auala. Missing Richard Jones and Erik Gilbert) is one way to begin.
The Zizzer’s will have 4 Captains, all playing in key positions. Stuart Ziegler, a jr. Forward, Logan Ray, sr. Midfielder, Brice Hunt, jr. Midfielder/Back and Richard Jones, sr. Back, will be called upon to set the tone of play. Ziegler was the 2nd leading scorer last season, behind Dryden, with 16 goals. He showed very well at State Cup for the Springfield SC and also was selected as an All-Star at the MSU Team Camp. Brice Hunt opened my eyes this summer with his play at State Cup for the same U16 SSC squad with his defense and pace. Paired with Justin Scicluna in the midfield, another SSC teammate, the Zizzers will be able to score against all but the best defenses in the region this season. Anchored in back by Richard Jones, who will move to the center after playing outside last year, and Zach Auala, a 6-2 keeper who also earned All-Star honors at MSU Team Camp, the team Zizzers should be confident of their ability to compete. Add in Cody Townsend and Logan Ray at midfield and the story line only improves.
The Zizzer’s have made another nice move. Jacob Plocher has signed on to be an Assistant Coach. Jacob most recently could be seen wearing the green & gold of the Missouri Southern Lions and is an alumni of the Zizzers soccer program. With experience and the ability to communicate with the boys about what it takes to get to the next level, Coach Schmitt and his squad have a nice opportunity ahead. Go Zizzers!
PS – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you to the fine new website the Zizzers have implemented this season. I know I’m looking forward to being able to better track their progress from Springfield. Check it out at zizzersoccer.com!
Thanks go out to Randy Hunt for providing the photos.