Rio Trounces EC in league Opener

Zachary Sampo, Staff Writer

The varsity boys soccer team’s hearts were broken last year when they lost in the semifinals of the section championships to Natomas High School 2-1.

This year they return ready to win the league and the championships.

Nine returning players from last years “heartbroken team” are trying to lead the young team to a winning season.

Nevertheless, they didn’t start off this season well.

“We lost our first two games,” senior midfielder Alex Rizzo said.

“It really hurt our confidence.”

Rio’s average preseason was filled with ties, one-goal wins, and close losses, but when league came around, the Raiders answered the call.

For the first league game they played their biggest rivals, El Camino.

Rio dominated, beating them 4-1.

The win was the ideal start for the team with section championship aspirations.

Even though El Camino scored first, Rio came back and scored 3 goals in the first half.

With goals coming from junior Ryan Burns, senior Zach Sampo, and sophomore Hunter Brown, the team began to crush the Eagles.

The second half produced one more goal from sophomore Josh Parkinson.

Out of all the games the team has played, that was their biggest win of the season. However, their season is far from over.

Captains Mark Ledbetter and Ian Kinn always keep the team focused on practice and upcoming games. They also lead the traditional Icka Bolla cheer before every game to pump up the team and intimidate their opponents.

To prepare the team for each game, Posner fills each practice with running, scrimmaging, and drills to keep the team sharp and fit. During practice he always reminds the team that they have to win the next game.

Under coach Posner’s leadership, the team is always physically ready for each game.

His only complaint is that the team doesn’t always seem mentally ready to take on the next opponent.

Posner is actually a Economics teacher at rival school El Camino along with their women’s soccer coach.

This connection raises the stakes of the matchups with EC above that of any other game on Rio’s schedule.

He relies on the leadership on the captains to rein in the nervous minds of the team and lead them to victory.

The Raiders’ next home game is against Whitney on Monday, where they hope to remain undefeated in the Capital Athletic League.

Even though this season has only just begun, the players are already looking forward to the postseason and are ready to claim the section title.