When the seniors from the Enloe soccer team started playing for the Eagles three years ago, it was hard for them to even like each other, Sam Wiener said.
That’s why, he said, the team didn’t do well.
The growth of that group has translated on the field, as the Eagles took an undefeated start into their conference opener against Leesville Road on Tuesday night.
And Wiener, a senior striker, deserves some credit for Enloe’s 4-0 start.
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He posted a hat trick in a game at Knightdale last week, keeping the Eagles undefeated before they shut out Rolesville to complete their nonconference slate.
“I guess I had a good day,” said Wiener, who scored twice against Knightdale in the span of about seven minutes. “I think the team played really well and our midfielders were just seeing a lot of the runs I was making, so I was able to get those runs in and score.”
His first two goals that game gave Enloe a 2-0 lead in the first half. He got his third with 19 minutes remaining off an assist from Cory Ayers.
Wiener has been playing soccer since he was 6. He said his father coached him his first years playing.
He said he stuck with it because he liked it more than other sports he tried.
“Soccer really clicks for me, because it takes a lot of effort, especially being on the Enloe team,” said Wiener, who had a team-high eight goals on the season entering the first Cap-8 matchup. “Coach (Drew) Womble pushes us a lot harder than I think other schools’ teams get pushed. I love that, because it takes my mind off of school – stressful school – and gets me focused in the game.”
The unblemished start to the season will give the Eagles confidence to finish strong with what’s left of the regular season, Wiener hopes.
He said this year’s seniors have wanted to play for a state championship since their first season on the team.
Posting three shutouts in the first four games isn’t a bad start for a title hunt.
“I think for the team, it means we’re kind of getting more confidence,” Wiener said. “It’s a good way to start the season and go into conference play.”
For Wiener, building the Enloe program won’t stop with the Class of 2016. He said the seniors emphasize how effective practice is in order to play well in matches.
He has realized all of it – setting examples, being a team leader, making decisions – makes a difference in the program.
“It does feel different being the oldest and the leaders of the team,” Wiener said, “and being the people that the younger kids and coaches are looking to to make big decisions during the game. Our senior class is really close. I think that translates well to the field.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
About the Athlete of the Week
Name: Sam Wiener
Fun fact: Wiener wants to study chemical engineering in college.