CLARKSVILLE — Providence senior Avery Stumler has increased her goal production by 11 goals from a season ago, improving from seven as a junior to post her 18th to lift her team over Trinity Lutheran in last Saturday’s sectional championship.
Stumler credits the new system installed by first-year coach Brett Bass that has helped the Pioneers score 13 more goals than they did last season.
“The new style of play we have, our new formation,” Stumler said. “I used to play up top and would get a ball played to me and run on it. I get played out wide now and I can take a touch toward goal and have a better look at it.”
The seventh-ranked Pioneers enter the Class A Forest Park Regional with a 9-4-4 record in what Bass refers to as a wide-open field. Providence will face Oldenburg Academy (10-4-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal. Ninth-ranked Evansville Day (14-2-1) will take on No. 11 Vincennes Rivet (12-6-1) in the second semi. The final is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday night.
Bass said his entire offensive attack has progressed since the opening of the season. Senior Carlie Miiller has a team-high 16 assists to go with eight goals and fellow senior Kaylee Kaiser has six goals.
“Those three have been awesome in the attack for us. We’re leaps and bounds from where we started," Bass said. "We’re a lot more fine-tuned of a program. Introducing a new system that’s been under the same system for quite a long time, you have to start small, start simple. We have the players for it too. We have the speed and athletic ability to do it.”
Bass emphasized the various areas of the field as the season progressed, starting with the defense.
“We start with defense and work our way up field. All the girls know their roles and capabilities. It’s a smart group of young ladies,” Bass said. “Since our system is a four-back. It’s just cleaning up some stuff. When we found out we could score and we could defend, then we needed the possession so we went to the midfield.”
Stephanie Koopman and Carlie Miiller lead the way in the midfield but Kaiser praised the work of freshmen such as Avery Miiller, Maci Hoskins and Regan Hinton for their work as well.
It’s all added up to a confident team looking to win the first regional title — and fifth overall — for the program since 2012.
“We’re in a very competitive regional so we’ll have to play pretty strong in the morning, and if we make it, we’ll have to play strong again in the night,” Kaiser said.
“It’s four fairly equal teams,” Bass said. “It could be a toss-up as to who goes through. When you get to this point in the season, you need a little luck. Soccer’s a cruel game sometimes.”
The Pioneers have been putting in the work this week to make sure they’re paying attention to the detail that it requires to get luck on their side.
“Playing balls in the air, our touches on the ball. We’ve got our style of play down and possession. We just have to touch up a couple of the tactical things and I think we’ll be good,” Stumler said.