WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Rider boys soccer team silenced any doubters, going 5-0 and winning the Princeton tournament this weekend.
After falling short in the second round a year ago, the Raiders say this result proves to themselves, as much as anyone else, that they can be successful this season.
“It builds our confidence a lot," Rider senior right mid/back Nathan Sass said. "We have a lot of confidence. I think some people didn’t think we could do it but we proved them wrong.”
“With that five wins, we will know that we can beat anyone that comes to us," Rider senior defenseman Colsen Welch said.
Admittedly, the Raiders say last year’s Rider team was more talented.
But in 2020, the boys have something that won’t show up in the stat book.
“I think we get along really well. Last year, we had a lot of little cliques around the team but this year the whole team gets along," Welch said.
“We played three tough games in a row and you just felt that they were together the whole way and it just helped us out at the end of the weekend," Rider head coach Dustin Holly said.
So the Raiders have team chemistry, confidence and after playing five games in three days, say they are in the best start-of-the-season shape they have been in years.
But Rider lost several seniors from last year and one big key for success this season will be the leadership from the veterans.
“We told them really as soon as last year ended that they are going to have to carry us," coach Holly said.
“I think all the seniors, we all stepped up to be leaders because we all had really good guys to look up to," Sass said. "So the young guys are looking up to us, working hard, so I think they feel they need to copy that.”
“I think every senior is a captain in my mind," Welch said. "We will be mentors for these young kids and push them to the max.”