South Charlotte

Setting a high standard

The Marvin Ridge girls' soccer team is winning again.

Now it's not like they suffered a dramatic fall or struggled through a long losing streak.

The Mavericks suffered their first regular season loss in school history earlier in the season, but have again positioned themselves as the front-runner in their Southern Carolina conference, and the state.

Last year they went 24-0, were nationally ranked by ESPN and won the state 3A title. So coach Raymond Fumo knew this year was going to be different, but he's pleased with his young team.

Goalkeeper Amy Schmitt and defenseman Kailey Filter were All-Region selections last year, but were the only returning senior starters. Midfielders Christina Giusto and Allie Kahn are the only two other seniors on a team with 10 sophomores.

"There were 10 or 11 players from last year that we had to put into the starting line up this year," Fumo said. "We weren't coming into it with no experience, but almost everyone on the team is taking on a new role whether it is moving from reserve to starter, JV to varsity or offensive to defense."

"Last year was a once-in-a-lifetime team," Fumo said. "This year we are a very talented group, but still a work in progress."

They took their one step back against Ardrey Kell.

They still have not lost a conference game at the midway point of their fourth season, and the loss was only the third they have ever experienced.

"We need to not let that loss go," Filter said.

The four seniors have taken it upon themselves to show the underclassmen what it takes to be on top.

"We push our teammates on the field and ride them hard to be the best they can," Filter said. "Once practice is over we are always laughing and hanging out together. We expect the best from everyone and try to lead by our actions every day."

Fumo said since the beginning of the season his team is setting little goals and once they are reached, moving on to another point of emphasis.

The seniors helped build the Mavericks tradition and relish their roles as leaders.

"We tell everyone that it is special to be on this team and it is worth the work that we put in during practice," Schmitt said.

Marvin Ridge has been open only four years, but has developed one of the best girls' soccer programs in the state. That is why one loss in the beginning of the year will not define this team.

"We are Mavericks," Kahn said. "We are playing for our school, teammates, coaches, alumni, parents and most importantly ourselves...We need to put this team in position to pass the torch so this group can carry it on when we are gone."