WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - “I don’t know if the word is unexpected," rider senior forward Salty Jackson said. “Underdogs.”
It seems like a common trend among Rider teams this year, coming in feeling like an underdog.
In girls basketball, they were definitely not expected to start the season 21-1.
The boys basketball team lost two stars but is 19-4 this season.
Boys soccer wasn’t expected to go 5-0 to begin 2020, but they did, and the girls soccer team feels just the same way.
“I think we lost a lot of talent last year and people were expecting us to do as good as we did last year," Jackson said. "But in this Frisco tournament, we went 4-0 and we proved them wrong.”
“A lot of people doubted us and we showed them, you know what, don’t doubt us," Rider senior defensive-mid Mia Bowman said.
And I don’t think anyone will take them lightly now, including themselves, as they realize their true potential.
“I don’t think even we were confident in ourselves," Jackson said. "But these wins against pretty good competition in Frisco definitely boosted our confidence and I think this team plays with a lot of heart.”
And that’s been the theme for the Lady Raiders early on, using their passion for the game to propel them to success.
“Everybody wants to be out here, everybody is trying to have a starting position,” Bowman said.
“We want it, we want to get to state, especially the seniors," Rider attacking-mid Haley Bragg said. "The freshman coming in, I feel like they have a lot of heart and they just want to do it for us.”
In the past four seasons, the Lady Raiders have made it at least three rounds deep in the playoffs.
But the captains of this team know that doesn’t come easily and it’s on them to fill the shoes of the veterans before them.
“Leadership is everything," Bowman said. "Everyone looks up to you, even when you don’t know they are looking up to you, they are looking up to you.”
“To always be leaders, on and off the field," Bragg said. "No matter what, we just need to show everybody respect and treat everyone equally.”
The Rider Lady Raiders will join four other Texoma teams at the MSU Invitational starting Thursday.