Lady Tigers gear up for new district competition

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Although the Lady Tigers didn’t start on the right foot on the soccer pitch, there is still plenty of time for the team to come around.

A slight drop in numbers has forced some rearrangement on head coach Adrian Rocha’s plate as he now relies on five senior leaders on a team that will operate without a junior-varsity squad.

Rocha knows that even the games they aren’t in, every time out will make for experience that these girls can look back on later.

“Everything is preparing us for the district games because those will be the ones that determine if you get to go to the playoffs,” Rocha said before also mentioning a couple new faces around District 23.

Those string of games will be upon Sealy before it knows it and Rocha knows he’ll have to make the most out of the non-district games that precede them.

“I think it’s good that the district expanded,” Rocha noted of the extra couple meaningful games that were added to the schedule. “But with those games coming earlier on in the year, we need to take advantage of our preseason.”

Those groups of games started out despite some torrential weather that resulted in puddles sporadically placed throughout the field only adding onto the cold temperatures of last weekend.

Despite not starting off great according to Rocha, each game got progressively better and at the end of the day, coach Rocha was pleased with the experiences his team was gaining.

He also mentioned that a few of his players are still fairly new to the sport and will continue to develop as the season goes along.

“You play against some programs where you can tell some of the players play year-round or on club teams,” Rocha said. “But some of them are just natural athletes and we have a couple of those as well.”

Rocha added he just lets them go without any strings attached and allows those athletes to play the style they do while also refining their skills to the dimensions of the soccer fields they play on now.

As the season will progress, so will those players’ skills in order to continue to develop the level of soccer players that come through this area.

Those additions will only complement loads of talent already on the roster that will be squaring off with a couple new faces within District 23.

Although Bellville departed for District 25, both Rice Consolidated and Columbus made the journey over from their respective districts to round out an even six teams competing for the top spot in District 23.

“I was talking to one of the other coaches and she said, ‘It’s going to be a blood bath,’ and I love that,” Rocha added. “That’s what’s going to make it exciting.”

Before the month is over the Lady Tigers will already find themselves within the midst of district battles with the newly aligned Rice Raiders kicking off that interconference play on Jan. 28.

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