PREP GIRLS SOCCER: Success boost Vikings confidence during building process

Apr. 24—DANVILLE — Hard work can only go so far when a team is trying to rebuild its program.

A few successful outcomes are also needed to build confidence during the process.

The Danville girls soccer team got a much needed boost this week with a 10-1 victory over Peoria Manual on Tuesday followed by a 5-1 triumph over Meridian/Sangamon Valley on Wednesday at the Wayland-Young Athletic Complex.

"This is still a building year," said Danville coach Ron Sillings, whose team plays only two seniors. "We were not just playing these games, we were preparing for the next game and the games to come on our schedule."

Danville, which improves to 5-12 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12 Conference, snapped a seven-game losing streak with its win on Tuesday over Peoria Manual as junior Reese Rundle scored three times, while junior Liliana Dowers and sophomore Marely Perez each added two goals.

"It's been a hard season. We've had to deal with a lot of losses, but I don't think we have let it get to us," said Dowers, one of four team captains. "We are still playing hard and we have hope for the rest of the season.

"We are learning each day to become better players and work with each other. No one can win a game by themselves, it takes all of us."

Dowers believes the wins on Tuesday and Wednesday are good reminders to the team that they are "capable of winning when they work well as a team."

Rundle, another captain, agreed, saying that these wins mean a lot at this point in the season.

"We've had a lot of tough games where we have been losing," she said. It was good to play a team and get a big victory."

And honestly, the Lady Vikings came into this week knowing they had an opportunity to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season as Manual falls to 0-11 overall and 0-5 in the Big 12, while Meridian/Sangamon Valley is now 6-6-2.

"We knew we had to work as a team to have a chance to win," said sophomore captain Lindsey Porter. "Being successful gives us confidence in our teammates, passing the ball more and giving each other more opportunities.

"Just getting that boost in confidence is a big part of the game."

That's because Danville has dealt with a number of injuries this season as the Vikings are looking for their first winning season since 2016.

"This is a building year for this program," said junior captain Maya Towne. "We are trying to build up our skills, while working together as a team and get that connection to be more successful.

"Our record isn't as good as we want, but we know that we are a young team."

Especially when you consider their four captains are three juniors and a sophomore.

"When I came in here two years ago, we started a mentor program," Sillings said. "I picked kids that had good grades, that showed leadership qualities and were great players on the field. These four girls will pick the players that will come behind them to be captains, as long as they fit the criteria.

"It"s a process of building the program with the girls taking the roles in the process."