Hillside girls soccer coach Jokyra Scott said she knows building the Hornets’ program into a winner may be a long-term project.
So she’s focusing on a lot of things other than just the wins and losses.
“Growth, drive and commitment” are the Hornets’ buzzwords.
“We don’t get a lot of players with soccer experience,” said Scott, who is a special education teacher. “We have a lot of young ladies come out as ninth-graders to play soccer for the first time. So we do our best to turn them into soccer players. The ones who come out and show energy and are teachable, we take them and try to build their skills. Whether we have a chance to win a game or not, we want them to give it their all. We’re a team that’s growing and they understand that.”
The Hornets are 1-8-1 overall. Their best results are a 1-0 win over Southeast Raleigh and a 2-2 tie with Granville Central. Hillside has also lost to both teams by 1-0 scores.
Senior stopper Se’Nya Bennett and classmate center midfielder Sumayah Haynes are the Hornets’ captains.
“I think our defense is getting stronger,” said Bennett, who began playing as a seventh-grader at Shepard Middle and plans to attend North Carolina A&T and major in biology in the fall. “We’re gaining confidence. I yell the whole game to try and keep my teammates’ confidence up. We know we’re not the best team, but we want to build each other up and have fun. If we take a big loss and we just have fun playing, we still got something positive out of it.”
Haynes, whose sister Ammarah is a junior goalie for the team, said she’s hoping to play at Shaw next season.
“I get a little frustrated when I know I could have scored a goal and I don’t,” Sumayah Haynes said. “But we always get great defense from Se’Nya. Everyone really gets amped and excited for home games. What we need to do is play hard and play 100 percent. We want to represent the school well and show that we can play soccer. Even when things don’t go well we need to keep it cool and play the game.”