Buffalo Kickers prepare for start of new seasons

Lilly Goller and The Villages High School’s girls soccer team kicks off its season tonight  looking to follow up on last year’s appearance in the regional semifinals.

The Villages High School girls soccer team has a goal every season — to make it farther than it has ever gone before.

For a few years now, that has meant reaching a regional final, though that championship appearance has so far eluded the Buffalo. This year, with a roster full of returning players and a year of coach Brian Rausch’s system under their belts, they’re hopeful they can break through that ceiling.

“I feel like it’s going to push us further than we’ve gone before,” junior goalkeeper Taylor Fugate said. “I feel like our confidence and our chemistry as a team needs to be really strong.”

The Buffalo lost in the regional semifinals for the second year in a row last winter, overwhelmed by a strong McKeel Academy (Lakeland) team. This year, Rausch deliberately built a much stronger regular-season schedule to help prepare his team for the level of competition it will face in the later rounds of the postseason.

“It’s not about us having an easy schedule and then us playing beyond districts and expecting things to happen against better teams, faster teams,” the coach said.

Read this story and many others in Friday's edition of the Daily Sun.