The Pirates return most of last year's 15-9-1 team.
The Perryville girls soccer program won its first district title last season with just one senior starter, but an early rash of injuries could cause a slow start for the defending Class 1 District 1 champions.
The Pirates finished their season 15-9-1, falling 3-0 to St. Pius in the sectional round. Perryville had just two seniors on its roster.
Injuries could sideline three returning starters early this season, and Jocelyn Moll -- who was one of the top returning scorers -- is not back after graduating in December.
"We should potentially have nine starters back, but we'll have to get healthy," Perryville coach Stacie Sargent said. "That's kind of unusual for us."
All-state midfielder Amber Hacker was the biggest graduation hit, but Perryville still has a young core coming back.
"I'm ready. I'm looking forward to what we could possibly do this year," Sargent said. "The girls are trying to be open to new looks. I don't know if it will work, but right now the girls are willing to try. We want to make ourselves a little more flexible. We want to try to be the ones to dictate."
Added Sargent: "Do I think we should contend? Heavens, yes. Losing an all-state player in the midfield will be tough, but I'm excited about the players we have back."
A good sign for Perryville's program is the addition of 10 freshmen to the program. The increased numbers should allow Perryville to play more junior varsity games, which will only help in the development of younger players.
Perryville opens Tuesday at Poplar Bluff.
Central vs. St. Vincent
Central and St. Vincent will meet today in the opener for area teams.
St. Vincent returns much of its talent from a squad which fell to Perryville in the district finals. Notre Dame should also contend in District 1.
"I believe it could be up for grabs again," Sargent said of the district.
Jackson will open its season March 27 at Central.
The Indians have won five straight district titles and will bring back much of last year's 16-8-2 team that lost to St. Joseph's Academy in the sectional round.
Jackson and Central will compete in a district that features newcomers Hillsboro and Seckman. Poplar Bluff rounds out Class 2 District 1.
Area golf squads will begin play Tuesday, with Notre Dame hosting a meet with Central and Jackson.
Saxony Lutheran and Advance will field teams for the first time this year. Both schools will join Class 1 District 1, which also includes St. Vincent.
The Indians bring back the area's lone returning all-state players in Zach Richardet and Corey Brueckner. Richardet finished tied for 11th at the state meet, while Brueckner tied for 13th.
Central qualified for the Class 4 state meet as a team last year by getting four individuals through the district. The Tigers finished 10th at the state meet and lost all four qualifiers to graduation, including top-10 finisher Blake Driskell.
* Head coach -- Zack Walton
* Assistant coach -- Julie Wunderlich, David Brummel
* Last year -- District Champions
* Returning starters -- Randi Kraust, sr.; Alicia Howard, sr.; Erin Curtis, sr.; Jenni Tenholder, jr.; Lindsey Poole, jr.; Lauren Drewett, jr.; Chelsea Dale, jr.; Bobbi Jo Schlick, so.; Katelyn Myracle, so.
* Other top returning players -- Emily Dietl, jr.; Megan Davidson, so.
* Top newcomers -- Ashlea Soemo, jr.; Casey Schwab, jr.; Carrie Brown, so.; Christin Jones, jr.
* Coach's Outlook -- Our biggest obstacle right now is getting everyone healthy. We have several injuries which makes it hard to get prepared for the season.
* Head coach -- Jeff Worley
* Assistant coach -- Matt Vollink
* Last year -- 11-5-1
* Returning starters -- Destiny Dirnberger, forward, sr.; Meridith Medlin, forward, sr.; Brooke Beussink, mid, sr.; Mindy Siebert, forward, so.; Emily Blattel, def, sr.; Amanda Pleimann, mid, so.; Paige Schumer, mid, jr.; Alex Fowler, mid, so.; Claudia Brauss, goalie, sr.
* Other top returning players -- Hailey Brown, def, sr.; Taylor Sanders, def, so.; Abbie Willett, def, sr.; Megan Robert, mid, sr.; Molly Proffer, def, so.; Shelley Frank, def, jr.; Libby Brauss, mid, jr.; Megan Ruopp, def, jr.; Claire Goodson, mid, sr.
* Top newcomers -- Kari Stone, def, jr.; Allie Bryant, mid, jr.; Jordan Radetic, def, jr.; Courtney Luehmann, mid, so.
* Head coach -- Stacie Sargent
* Assistant coach -- Shannon Behrle
* Last year -- 15-9-1, lost in sectional
* Returning starters -- Chelsey Marr, forward, jr.; Ava Johnson, midfield, so.; Kendra Schilli, for/mid, jr.; Aylssa Bauwens, mid/def, jr.; Nicole Gremaud, def/mid, jr.; Alicia Kueker, forward, so.; Kasey Riney, def, sr.; Hannah Fulton, def, jr.; Chastity Marr, goalie, sr.
* Other top returning players -- Teresa Troncale, for/mid, sr.; Hannah Wills, forward, jr.; Ashley Reid, def/for, so.; Casey Brown, for/def, so.; Brooke Grindstaff, forward, so.; Lindsay Martin, mid, jr.; Tara Oster, forward, so.
* Top newcomers -- Ashley Castleberry, mid/for, jr.; Liz Martin, mid, jr.; Emily Hanquist, mid/def, fr.; Becca Hanquist, mid, fr.; Chelsey Mattingly, def, fr.
* Head coach -- Dustin Wengert
* Assistant coach -- Caitlin Huber
* Last year -- 10-11-3
* Returning starters -- Meg Wengert, gk, sr.; Sara Moll (all state-honorable mention), md, jr.; Kelsey Cissell, sw, jr.; Brooke Brown, st, jr.; Jessica Welker, md, jr.; Lacey Siegmund, fw, jr.; Courtney Besand, mf, so.
* Other top returning players -- Miranda Homles, df, sr.; Hannah Schremp, df, sr.; Kailyn Petzoldt, df, jr.
* Top newcomers -- Elizabeth Brueckner, fw, fr.; Megan Sutterer, md, fr.
* Coach's Outlook -- We have a great group coming back, and although our district is tough, we like to think we can make another run at the district championship.