Five players set to start their senior season signed national letters of intent during a ceremony on national signing day Wednesday, Feb. 3 at Park Hill High School. The Trojans have the bulk of their roster back from last year when a win against Park Hill South in a sectional matchup gave them their first playoff victory since 1993.
Bella Catano and Haley Buckholz signed to Division II William Jewell, while Madi Massa chose Missouri Western. Taylor Buckholz goes to the NAIA level at hometown Park, while Heather Wojahn will continue her career at Maple Woods Community College.
“It’s a talented class, it’s a talented group,” Park Hill coach Brandt Bell said. “We’re excited to see, not only what we can do this year but what they do at the next stage, too. With our performance last year, we have high expectations. We want to be one of the best teams around.”
Catano, a projected four-year starter, has 20 goals and 19 assists so far in her career – 10 of each during her junior campaign -- at Park Hill. She was voted team MVP last year and earned a spot on the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association all-state second team as a midfielder.
Haley Buckholz, a centerback, is another projected four-year starter. She has helped accrue 39 clean sheets in her first three seasons, which resulted in three straight selections to the All-Suburban Conference Red Division team.
Park Hill recorded eight shutouts in its final 10 games of last season on the way to a 19-7-3 record and No. 7 ranking in the final MSHSSCA Class 4 poll.
Massa stepped into a starting role last season and scored five goals and tallied two assists from her left back position, earning honorable mention All-Red Division honors. She parlayed that into becoming a part of a seven-player class headed to St. Joseph to play in the MIAA.
Taylor Buckholz was named the squad’s co-most improved player last season after stepping into a defensive midfield position. She earned second-team All-Red Division and all-district honors, scoring five goals to go with four assists.
Wohjahn – the other half of last year’ co-most improved player tandem – scored twice and tallied four assists as a left wing in the attack.
The varied contribution levels show the progress of Park Hill’s program in recent years and shows the continued chance for growth with so many key pieces in place for this season.
“It’s good for us,” Bell said. “We’ve certainly had girls who have played in college at all types of levels. To have a public opportunity to recognize them is good for us, and it’s good to show these girls how much they mean to us. It establishes a good tradition for us to continue down the road, too.”