After notching its first-ever postseason win last fall, the State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunners soccer team looks to ride that momentum into the 2018 season.

“We continue to build the roster and the confidence of our players,” said Head Coach Jaime Beltran. “The work we did in spring is a big part of what will happen this fall. We had a small group of returners, but they have been dedicated. Their attitudes are always positive, and that is hard sometimes with a small group. They have laid a foundation that I hope the new players will embrace and move forward with.”

The returners are Jessica Coble and Kiara Williams both of Sedalia; Karina Esquivel of Jefferson City; Raleigh Johns of Lake of the Ozarks; and Bianca Meza and Kimberly Rosas both of El Paso, Texas. Coach Beltran expects Esquivel to take a big step forward in her sophomore season. He also is looking for Coble and Williams to up their game.

The Lady Roadrunners will play a similar style of soccer to last year’s season.

“We want to be a very structured team,” said Beltran. “We want a unified defense, and offensively, we need to take care of the ball and strategically attack the goal.”

Two newcomers have impressed the coaching staff during the preseason.

“Jorri Toone is a defender from the Kansas City area,” said Beltran. “She has been a presence in our back line. We had good players there last year, but we didn’t have a lot of size. We just need her to be a little more vocal. She is a good complement to Kiara.

“We’ve also seen flashes of brilliance from forward Alys Beadle; we need to figure out a way to get her ready to play a 90-minute game. She is from England and has had to adjust to our higher temperatures, but she has played well.”

Other newcomers include Hailie Acton of Fulton, Hannah Chapman of Warsaw, Samantha Curphey of Kansas City, Jennie Heishman of Warrensburg, Ria Kessell of Jefferson City, Andrea Ramos of Waynesville, Sydney Rickel of Lee’s Summit, Taylor Winfrey of Marshall, Melissa Martinez of Bolivia, and Atziry Plascencia of El Paso, Texas.

Beltran is happy with this year’s schedule because it allows recovery time between games to give players a chance to perform at their best.

“The way the schedule is set up may be even more important for the women’s team than the men’s team because we have fewer players,” said Beltran. “Hopefully, it will make a big difference in helping to keep our student-athletes healthy.”

The Lady Roadrunners have set their goals for the upcoming season.

“Our goals are to compete for our region championship and win it so we can extend our season,” said Beltran. “We hope to advance to the national tournament, which will be a challenge. As long as the players come together as a team, we will work toward that goal in each game.”

Coach Beltran sees several keys to success for the Lady Roadrunners this season.

“One key for our women’s team is to stay healthy,” said Beltran. “We are not two deep at every position. That’s one of those things that we don’t have full control over; however, if we lose players, it will hamper our opportunities. Some of our players are being asked to play new roles this season, and they’ve embraced those roles.”

The Lady Roadrunners will open the season with a two-game road trip before returning home Aug. 29 to take on Neosho County Community College at 5:30 p.m. at Clover Dell Park, 5300 W. 32nd Street, Sedalia.

--David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics