The Leesville Road girls soccer program is known for their long-lasting tradition of dominance and excellence. Having won multiple state titles and conference championships, the Pride girls soccer team has always been a difficult team to beat.
The 2017 team is expected to be no less than outstanding.
Last year, the Pride had a very successful season. They were crowned CAP-8 conference co-champions with Millbrook and finished with an overall record of 22-2-2. However, a deep run in the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs ended for the team after a disappointing upset loss to Athens Drive.
This season, the players hope to bounce back from the loss and use the experience as inspiration.
“When we lost to Athens Drive, everybody got a picture of them storming our field,” said Mackenzie Gower, sophomore. “So, we’re using that as our motivation to go farther in the playoffs this year.”
Last year, Leesville was a very young team, with numerous underclassmen. This season, the team is still young, with many players who are sophomores and juniors. However, many of them have experience playing at the varsity level, which could help push the Pride ahead of the competition.
The Pride returns many key contributors, including Hannah Arostegui, Jordin Mosley, and Rachel Golden, who was named to last year’s all-state girls soccer team. A team full of talented players, every member has the ability to contribute to the team’s success.
This year, the Leesville soccer team has many goals, including winning the state and CAP-8 championships. In terms of technicality, the team hopes to be even better than last season on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, according to Arostegui.
“I think the team’s goals are to definitely not get scored on defensively,” said Arostegui. “Our attacking goals are to get more goals than last year.”
Paul Dinkenor, the Leesville girls soccer coach, thinks that this year’s team has the potential to be a winning team and have great success. However, with a schedule loaded with games against top opponents, he knows that every player will have to give their best effort each game.
“[The schedule is] going to be very, very testing, two to three really hard games per week,” said Dinkenor. “We’re going to have to be on point from day one.”
Although the team will be tested each game, Dinkenor hopes that the girls enjoy the season and work together. “I’m hoping that the girls have fun, enjoy a 20 plus game season, and that we don’t wait too long to maximize our potential,” said Dinkenor.
The Leesville girls soccer team opens their season on Monday, February 27 at Northern Durham.