Big wins come to mind when Rachel Snyder thinks back on her high school soccer career.
Her sophomore year at Athens Drive, the team defeated Green Hope, which was the then-defending 4A champion.
Last season, the Jaguars beat Apex in what Snyder called a “crazy game.” They won, 5-4, and she scored all four goals.
Just last week, Athens Drive picked up two more impressive victories over Southwest Wake Conference opponents. On April 11, it beat Fuquay-Varina, 3-2, and then upset Middle Creek, 2-1, two days later.
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Snyder, a senior forward, played a hand in both wins and even scored the game-winning goal against Fuquay with 14 seconds left on the clock.
“I knew I had to get there to get some kind of shot off,” she said. “We played so many overtime games, it’s frustrating. We didn’t want to go into overtime again.”
Athens Drive has played to overtime three times this season. While last week’s wins don’t change the Jags’ standings in the conference much, Snyder said it helps that they tacked on a loss to top teams’ records.
Playoffs is the goal this year, as Athens Drive hasn’t been since Snyder’s sophomore year.
She began playing soccer at 5 after watching her older sister. She currently plays alongside her twin sister, Erika.
“It’s cool because it’s kind of like a family thing, and we’ve always played together in the backyard and it’s something to talk about and do together,” Rachel Snyder said. “It’s a family thing, because my parents go to all the games. I like being part of a team and making a lot of friends.”
Snyder said the Athens team is close and the members have a lot of respect for each other. She has learned how much you can learn about a team while playing soccer.
“I creates a bond,” Snyder said. “I think I’ve learned if you have respect for people then people will have respect for you. If you give good criticism on the field, then they’ll return the favor.”
When Snyder and the other seniors depart, she hopes the team remains unselfish. She believes Athens is always viewed as an underdog, so that’s made the team fight harder to win games.
“I think everybody works hard and comes out with the attitude of we want to get the win today,” Snyder said. “No one expects us to win, so we kind of just come out and play hard. I think we catch a lot of people off guard.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
School: Athens Drive
Sport / Position: Soccer / Forward
Fun fact: Participates in a sports medicine program at school