Rams look to repeat

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 23, 2004

AHOSKIE – A new coach brings excitement to a program, and with that excitement raises the level of expectations for his team.

Since taking over the Ridgecroft Rams boys soccer program, Patrick Sensiba has been working to instill the team concept in his players so they are able to meet expectations.

&uot;I’m pleased with their individual level of play but they have not played with any system,&uot; Sensiba said. &uot;The challenge will be getting away from kick and run soccer.&uot;

His players are ready to meet the challenge.

&uot;We used to play kick and go and now we’re playing the game the way it should be played – with our head,&uot; returning senior Harrison Revelle said. &uot;We’re getting the hang of it (the new system) and by the end of the season we’ll be something to see.

&uot;Compared to how we’ve been playing, we’ll be a surprise to some people,&uot; Revelle added.

Senior Drew Jones agrees that the changes will benefit the Rams.

&uot;We have more depth and with the new system we’ll be able to put the ball upfield,&uot; he said. &uot;Last year we just kicked it upfield and this year we have more control.

We’ll be moving the ball through them instead of just booting it upfield.&uot;

In addition to Jones and Revelle, the Rams have a strong core of seniors, including All-State goalie Ian Kinlaw, Hill Homewood, Will Jones and Wes Ward, who missed last season due to an injury.

Kinlaw will be back in the net for the Rams, and he’s excited about the possibilities the new style of play has for him.

&uot;The new system will make it easier for me because the defenders are learning to talk to each other and move the ball upfield,&uot; Kinlaw said.

&uot;I feel good with him behind me,&uot; said Jones, a defender.

&uot;We’ll be playing Ian the ball a lot more than we did last year.&uot;

While he’s looking for a leader to emerge from the group of seniors, Sensiba sees a future star in freshman Gus McLean.

&uot;A lot of the season will depend on how Gus matures as a player,&uot; Sensiba said.

&uot;He has a lot of potential.&uot;

For now, the coach is pleased with the progress he has seen from his players.

&uot;The habits some of these guys have developed are three or four years old,&uot; Sensiba said.

&uot;They have to understand patience and discipline.

We need to work on winning the ball and building out of the back better.

I don’t think they’ve been pushed like this and the players are responding,&uot; Sensiba added.

The Rams ultimate goal would be to play in the final game of the season-the state championships where they played a season ago.

To get there, Sensiba is emphasizing the team concept, making sure everyone is playing on the same page.

It is an emphasis his players have bought into.

&uot;Our offense looks strong, but it will depend on what the whole team looks like,&uot; said Revelle.

&uot;We’ll be working a lot better together,&uot; Jones added.