The Rouse boys’ soccer team took a big step last year, making it to the postseason after winning just two district games in 2016.
The playoff appearance was just the second in the Raiders’ history. They lost to Magnolia West in the first round, and while they felt they played a good match, the feeling of getting knocked out early isn’t something they want to repeat.
“This group has a lot of potential with where we could go several rounds deep, but it’s a dogfight in our district just to get in,” head coach Darrell Knight said. “We’re just trying to scratch for those points every week. I think we could be bi-district champions.”
The only other postseason appearance was in 2014 when Knight and Rouse made it the fourth round, where they were ultimately knocked off by Schertz Clemens.
Rouse has two losses this season as district play is just starting to get underway. The Raiders fell to Salado on Jan. 5 and lost the first game of district play at home against East View on Jan. 9.
The highlights of the young season include a 1-0 win against Leander and a 2-0 victory on the road against Cedar Park.
The attack is led by experienced players, including senior Cohen Reed-Green, who scored 14 goals last season and was named to the first-team All-District list.
“When he scores, we usually win,” Knight said. “So we’re really kind of leaning on him.”
The midfield is experienced and the back line has a trio of seniors — two of which were kickers on the football team — who aim to bring physicality to the team.
“I like to be a high press in your face group,” Knight said. “We’re going to try and bring the game to you. We’ve played in a little different style as far as the system, but it’s helped us so far this season.”
In the win against the Timberwolves, Reed-Green found the back of the net along with Marcus Spurgeon while Zach Ingram kept a clean sheet. The Raiders followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Cedar Creek on Friday night in which Sanford tallied from the penalty spot for Rouse.
Rouse continues district play at home against defending district champions Connally on Friday night before hitting to road to face Hutto next Tuesday night. The Raiders return home against Elgin on Feb. 9.