In sports, speed, size and physicality are only one aspect of winning on the field. A team also has to play the game well and be confident in themselves to have success in the game. Sealy Lady Tigers’ soccer Coach Adrian Rocha said the team struggled with the latter heading into its first playoff matchup last week against Columbia.
“They went in with the mindset of being an underdog and knowing that it would be tough to beat them and we gained that back just a little too late,” he said.
The Lady Tigers lost the game 4-1 to end their season and for eight seniors, end their careers as Sealy Tigers. The game was scoreless for much of the first half but the Roughnecks tacked on two goals before halftime for the lead. The Lady Tigers answered back quickly in the second half but after Columbia scored two more times, it knocked the wind out of their sails.
“It was just an overall atmosphere that we could’ve improved and I think that affected their hustle,” Rocha said. “The season on a whole was one we are proud of but obviously you wish it could’ve ended better than that.”
Of the eight seniors who are leaving after this season, at least six were regular starters for the Lady Tigers including their goalkeeper, leaving a large void to fill for the younger players. Rocha said the seniors have done a good job preparing them for that responsibility.
“These seniors will definitely be remembered because they are so firm in their beliefs and they showed that if you want something, you’re going to have to work for it and I think their legacy will be this seasons motto, ‘earned not given,’” he said. “They improved since last year and they’re one of the more special groups of seniors I’ve coached and they’ve helped me grow as a person too.”
Rocha said it is that precedent they set of working hard that will be important for the team next season as the district has expanded to seven teams for the 2019 season from the five it had in 2018. It makes clinching a playoff spot, which is awarded to the top four teams in the district, more difficult and far less of an assurance than in the past.
“I think we know we can’t take things for granted and while the loss to Columbia hurts, these younger players have that experience now so we have to take it up a notch,” Rocha said. “It’s exciting for the team and myself because it’s a new challenge but one we have to take very seriously.”