Coach's Corner: Paige Riley Eyes to Build Off Historic Season
THERE'S NO HIDING ANYMORE FOR THE WOODLANDS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY GIRLS SOCCER PROGRAM. THE TARGET IS SQUARE ON THEIR BACK AND FOR GOOD REASON.
Last year as a first-year varsity program, the Warriors came out and went undefeated in district play, capturing the program's first-ever gold ball and District Championship and then advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Paige Riley is back at the helm of the program, which enters its fourth season overall. VYPE caught up with the head coach in this Coach's Corner.
VYPE: That was a splash season for you all last year. What's it like going into this season?
RILEY: We have a big target on our back. We've got players who are here to compete and we're here to make a second showing and hopefully go a little bit further in the playoffs this year.
VYPE: Is there a different feeling heading in?
RILEY: For our freshman group that we had last year; I think they've got that nervousness out of their system. So, they're going in with a little bit more confidence and an idea of what to expect in this 5A conference that we're in. We're ready.
VYPE: Before last year, Mattie Hopkins had never played goalie and then she earned all-state honors. Talk about her a bit.
RILEY: She's scrappy. When I say that this girl can give her all, she leaves it all on the field. She goes down for every one of her teammates and just comes up really big. She's not scared of anything. She's fearless and has this energy that's unmatched amongst other teams.
VYPE: What's the biggest thing that this team needed to improve on from last year to make that deep playoff run in 2022?
RILEY: I think confidence. We have a ton of talent on this team. So, when you have a ton of talent, just working through that chemistry. Rather than shining as individual players and being able to develop that team camaraderie was our disadvantage last year. So, now understanding how we play alongside each other will be a huge benefit going into the season.