Leesville Road senior Rachel Golden knows that she has to shoulder a lot of responsibility as the centerback in the Pride’s three-back look. She must communicate like she was an on-field assistant coach, directing her teammates to where they need to be and calling out what the other team is going to do.
“I have to see the field and know what’s happening at all times,” said the UNC-Asheville recruit. “It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a good role to play.”
So far, everything is working for Leesville, and the defense has a big role to play in that.
The Pride (10-0-1, 4-0 Cap-8 4A) have allowed just four goals in 11 games.
“She is very, very steady,” said Leesville Road coach Paul Dinkenor of Golden. “She’s one of the most low-maintenance, high-output kids I’ve ever coached. You never have to ask her to do something twice.”
On a team with talented freshmen and sophomores, Golden has been working on stepping into a senior leadership role.
“It’s mostly just setting an example for the other girls,” she said. “If you’re not doing what you’re telling them to do, they’re not going to do it either. ... This is the best group of girls we’ve had in a really long time and we really think that we can go places this year.”
Leesville was a co-conference champ of the Cap-8 last year but fell early in the playoffs. This year’s team may have more depth – more than what Dinkenor is used to having available to substitute in, which is saying something for the multiple-state-championship coach.
“We have a lot more technical ability, so we have a lot more confidence in people coming off the bench,” he said. “Some people are playing out of position, but they’re playing where they can best help the team.”