Thanks to the savvy and dominant performance of goalkeeper Hope Limoges, the Vikings are off to arguably their best start in school history this season.
Limoges, a senior keeper for the Vikings, has played a prominent role in Howell’s impressive 7-1 start. She has started all eight games and has already recorded six shutouts so far and appears to be poised for a monster senior season.
“She has been a great, great help and asset to this program for sure the last couple of years,” Demling said. “A lot of the games we play are 1-0, 2-0 games and I have a lot of confidence in her and the team has a lot of confidence in her and that’s really showing.”
A first-team All-Gateway Athletic Conference South selection last year, Limoges has a .967 save percentage heading into the third week of April. Her start is even more impressive considering she had to bounce back from a concussion she suffered last November while playing with Sporting STL-Kayser/Uphoff.
Then, four months and a week after recovering from the concussion, she suffered an off-season knee injury on a trail run in mid-February, which delayed her soccer season preparation even further.
“The concussion and the knee injury definitely slowed her down early but she put in the work and got herself back on track and has done really well,” Demling said.
While Limoges is enjoying the season so far, she doesn’t hesitate to credit her back line defense, for helping to keep a lot of opposing odd rushes and shots from being potential problems in the goal box area.
Senior center backs Morgan Ebert and Natalie Jostes, and senior defender Catherine Eyler have allowed Limoges to take away quality shot chances and stop potential rushes well before they become a problem.
“Our defense is one of the best defenses I’ve seen in my four years of playing at the school,” Limoges said. “We all really work well together and communication is like a big thing that our team is really good at in the back.”
As a junior, Limoges developed into one the area’s top keepers as she went 10-7 with 7 shutouts.
“Last year was probably one of the best years I’ve played and so far this year, I’ve impressed myself with how well I’ve been playing since overcoming the injuries with my knee and my concussion,” Limoges said. “I’ve been more developed personally, working more with the goalkeeping coach, running more and training more to become a better player.”
Although Limoges is a bit on the short side for a goalie at 5-foot-8, she has strong footwork and athleticism.
“I love using my feet because not many goalies can. I’ve always been a field player and a goalie, and that allows me to have some foot skills and contribute to the team with my feet,” Limoges said. “I think my size throws people off and they think they can like shoot high on me but I can hang on the crossbar and be able to reach the corners and get low to the ground and move very agilely.”
“She’s become very good with her footwork and I know she has worked on that,” Demling said.
Another major asset that allows Limoges to be strong in goal is her ability to communicate and direct the Vikings back line.
“She has a really good presence back there,” Demling said. “She’s always yelling and screaming to get people where they need to be.”
Limoges, who is heading to Milliken University to play soccer next year, credits her parents, Steve and Heather, for involving her in soccer at an early age.
“My parents were like ‘you’re gonna play a sport,’ so they put me in everything and soccer was kind of like the one that I stuck with,” Limoges said.
Ultimately, goalie became the perfect spot on the pitch for Limoges.
“I just love the fact that like I can get down and grab the ball and be really aggressive on the ball and that I’m really good at goal and can take control on the field,” Limoges said. “I love making all the big saves.”