Although their 4-2 record doesn't show it, the start to the 2007 season has been rough for the Augusta Prep boys soccer team.
"We just haven't been able to get any consistency," coach Forrest Wimberly said. "We've had injuries and school trips, and it seems everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."
It doesn't get any easier this week. Arch-rival Westminster travels to Augusta Prep on Tuesday for a key region meeting.
"It's a whole different event. It's been a rivalry for years," Augusta Prep senior Madison Harte said. "It's always been an intense game, and I look forward to it every year."
Harte, a member of Augusta Prep's varsity soccer team since his eighth-grade year, is a team captain. He said he remembers well when the Cavaliers knocked off Westminster two years ago. It was the first Augusta Prep home win over their rivals in recent memory.
"It was a big moment," Harte said. "I remember the energy throughout the game was in our favor. That's the key to winning - come out hard and get that energy and momentum. That's how it felt throughout the entire game. We had the momentum."
More than bragging rights will be on the line. First place in the GISA Region 1-AAA standings will likely be up for grabs.
Westminster, ranked No. 4 in last week's GISA Class AAA state rankings, is once again considered a state contender. Augusta Prep has already knocked off region opponents John Milledge and Weber.
Recent history is on the side of the Wildcats. Since that Augusta Prep home victory two years ago, the Cavaliers haven't beaten Westminster in their past three tries.
Those last three games haven't been close, either.
"Here's the thing. When we play Westminster we don't play the game, we play the opponent," Wimberly said. "We can play other teams that are just as powerful and get much better results. It's just a mental block where we're trying to play Westminster instead of the game. We get into the moment and forget quite frankly what we do as a team. That was the rallying cry a couple of years ago."
As the Cavaliers try to work on the mental game, Westminster will try to repeat last year's pair of wins. Wimberly said no matter the outcome of the big game, it will be fun to watch.
"They've reloaded and they should be a very formidable opponent like they always are," he said. "The game is here and that gives us an advantage because we play better at home. If we can put our top line up on the field we can be right in that match and get a favorable result."
Tuesday's match is at 5 p.m.
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