The Lake Ridge boys soccer team took advantage of an 11-day layoff to heal some injuries, work out some kinks and prepare for its final two games of the season, which started on Tuesday night against Legacy to wrap up the district season.
The district-champion Eagles will play a warm up game at 5 p.m. on Monday against Kennedale to keep sharp for the postseason, and coach Corey Elolf said it will be a good competition for his team.
“We scheduled them as a warm-up game to the playoffs,” Elolf said. “We set it up so that we could see something different from what we've seen before. I know that they are a division lower than us, so it will give us the chance to see someone different and have the chance to have one game where we have to make adjustments on the fly and improve quickly.”
Lake Ridge wrapped up its second district championship in a row this season, and Elolf said that importance of that cannot be underestimated with respect to the confidence that it breeds.
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“It's huge,” Elolf said. “It's the first time in the school's history that any team has done that, so we were the first team to do it. The kids are proud of it, but last year, we got beat in the first round. So our kids know it means a lot, but they are not going to be satisfied with it.”
Elolf said that he believes the break was a good thing for his team to give the players the chance to rest and prepare for the rigors of playoff soccer.
“We pretty much just gave them the time off and kind of gave their bodies the opportunity to recuperate and regenerate,” Elolf said. “Hopefully, they will be ready for the next season to come, which is the playoffs. I think that everyone is trying to heal up right now, because these kids play through so much, playing twice in a week, so I think it will definitely help them.”
Elolf said he is not sure who Lake Ridge will play in the opening round of the playoffs just yet.
Lake Ridge was playing extremely well heading into the postseason, and while Elolf said that he is pleased with his team's effort, the good news is the Eagles remain eager to continue to get better.
“I think that we are doing pretty good,” Elolf said. “I think we are trying to improve every game, and not just being satisfied with winning, but really trying to get better each and every game. I think that as long as we continue to do that, we'll be in good shape.”
Elolf said that one of his players’ efforts has really caught his attention the past few games.
“Colton O'Brian has had three goals in the last two games,” Elolf said. “He has really stepped it up.”
Lake Ridge plays at Kennedale High School for its warm-up game.