That’s what the Blythewood Bengals are determined to make of their Tuesday night loss to Spring Valley on the soccer field.
The Bengals girls, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, are tied with Spring Valley for the Region 4-4A lead and gunning for a top slot in the playoffs.
“At the beginning of the season, our goal was to challenge for region, and we felt if we did that everything else would take care of itself,” third-year coach Mike Mauldin said. “Right now, we’re tied with Spring Valley, and that’s where we want to be.”
Blythewood, which was co-champion with Spring Valley in 2010, is on its way to becoming a perennial soccer contender. But, Mauldin said, there are a few moving parts yet to put in place.
“One of the pieces missing right now is the attacking third of the field,” he said. “Our defending has been pretty solid. At this point in time in the season, if we can get our attacking third going, I really think we’re going to do very well.”
One of the things Mauldin is most proud of about his team is strong leadership from seniors such as goalkeeper Lauren Killian and midfielder Katie Kuhn.
“Our season has really lived up to our expectations, and I feel like communication is key in making our team work,” Killian said.
The other key, Mauldin said, is positive attitude. That’s apparent in the Bengals’ reaction to this week’s setback.
“Our team hasn’t had a really upsetting loss, and it’s almost like we needed it, because now we know we don’t want to feel that way again,” Kuhn said.
“We just need to keep our intensity and drive, and we definitely can get to the playoffs and make a run,” junior Savannah Purvis said.
Mauldin is the leader of the team’s optimism.
“It’s not how you are in the middle of the season; it’s not how you are when you start. It’s how you are at the end of the season, and we’re going to be there. We’re going to challenge for as long as we can,” Mauldin said.
The Bengals have six games remaining in their regular season, beginning with a non-region match against Dutch Fork tonight.