The women’s lacrosse team expects extreme improvement this year. “Our goal is to place in third this year,” said Alexa Marshall, who returns for her third season as head coach.
In previous years, Marshall’s focus was teaching the inexperienced team the basics of the sport. During her first season as coach, the team did not win any games, but last season they improved to 3-8. Now the team has 13 seniors and hopes to make the playoffs.
This winter the Lady Pirates have been participating in workouts in the weight room and practicing stick skills, especially with the new players.
They have also been recruiting a lot of underclassmen.
“Don’t be afraid if you’ve never played before,” said Marshall.
One of Marshall’s main goals for the season is to push women’s lacrosse as a competitive sport and not just a social event.
Meshing the new players with the returners will be challenging, since the older girls have been playing together for a long time.
Marshall considers the team’s rivalries to be another weakness.
“Dislike for certain teams can make us more competitive, but less rational,” she said.
The women’s lacrosse team’s biggest strength is that everyone is very pumped for this season. Another strength is that they are an academically sound team.
“I can’t think of one player who doesn’t manage hard classes,” said Marshall.
On February 28th, the team will play at home against Athens Drive.
The Riverside Men’s Lacrosse team, coached by head coach Owen Ham and assistant coach Connor Bolen have high hopes for 2019.
“I’m excited to see how the captains develop the team,” said Bolen.
The offensive captain is Cole Hinson and the defensive captain is Leonardo Finazzo.
This is Bolen’s first year coaching at Riverside, but he played on the varsity team for all four years when he was a Riverside student.
To prepare for the season, the team has participated in weightlifting and stick-work, which Bolen considers the most important skill. Bolen’s goal for the team is to push discipline, because in the past some players haven’t been committed with attendance. “This season I want to create a more defined team culture,” said Bolen.
The team will play home against Cedar Ridge on February 28th.
The varsity women’s soccer team returns a heavily skilled team and expects to compete for a conference title.
The team is led by head coach Eric Long and captains Abigail Shelton, Courtney Linden, and Emily Maxwell. To prepare for the season, they have been doing soccer workouts with the coaches and weightlifting with athletic trainer Sarah Bell.
Maxwell has been a varsity soccer player since her freshman year. She thinks the team will improve this season since there are both a lot of returning players and a lot of strong freshman. Her goals for the team are to beat some rivals and to win more games.
“Our team’s greatest strength is that there are individual strengths that can be put together,” she said.
Maxwell believes that the team’s greatest challenge is having to spend practice time getting the team in shape and figuring things out because some of the players didn’t participate in winter workouts.
All of the coaches and captains are also excited about the large group of freshman athletes on the JV team.
The first game of the season is on February 27th away against Northern, a longtime rival team.
Head coach Doug Simmons wants the Riverside baseball team to win the conference championship this season.
Last year the team made it to the second round of the state playoffs, but this year they are hoping to do even better.
“[We have] a lot of veterans coming back and a couple of freshman that can play,” said Simmons.
Most of the conference teams are evenly matched, so the Riverside team could come in first place or fourth place depending on the day.
A disadvantage for the team is that a lot of skilled baseball players are districted for Riverside, but have transferred to charter or private schools so the RHS team is down in numbers this year.
Simmons considers their offense to be their greatest strength, while their defense is hoping to improve this season. He is expecting some freshman and sophomores to step up this season and become leaders as well.
The team will start the season by playing away at Corinth Holder High School on February 27th.
PHOTOS BY BRIAN AIMERICH