A 17-1-3 record has not done it. Neither has winning a playoff-opening match or earning a 10th consecutive district championship.
Despite everything Belton has accomplished, the Lady Tigers still lack confidence.
With just days separating Belton from its Region I-5A area-round match against Flower Mound Marcus, Lady Tigers head coach Wendy Knight is searching for a way to make her players find self-assurance.
“We are definitely playing at a level above where we have been in the past,” she said, “but they haven’t really taken that in and believed in themselves the way they should believe in themselves. And it is because they are having such an outstanding season.
“So we’ve got to focus on them understanding they are a great team and deserve the things they’ve done, and they should walk into the game with the confidence of knowing we are the best team.”
Led by Aubrey Martinez, who scored twice, Belton cruised to a 4-1 victory against Mansfield Timberview in the bi-district round, rebounding from an opening-round loss to Duncanville in 2013.
Nevertheless, the Lady Tigers are still looking for a spark heading into Thursday’s 4 p.m. match at Midlothian ISD Stadium, and Knight is baffled as to why.
“We have accomplished some great things this year, and I think they haven’t truly felt the impact of the things they’ve done,” she said. “To compete against the teams they’ve competed against like Austin
Westlake is impressive. We tied them, and they were a regional finalist last year. We tied Southlake Carroll, who was a state finalist last year.”
Perhaps a berth in the regional quarterfinals would do the trick, but it is easier said than done.
The Marauders bring a remarkable résumé into the match, having won a state championship in 2005. In more recent years, Marcus reached the state finals in 2012 and 2013.
In the bi-district round, the Marauders beat Trinity 4-1, advancing to area for the third consecutive season, and Knight was on hand to witness Marcus’ performance.
“They will create some dynamic stuff up top with their forwards,” she said. “It is nothing that we haven’t already seen this year, and after watching them play, I have some ideas of how we can beat them and things we need to do that will work to our advantage.”
In the end, however, Knight believes the outcome will be determined long before either team steps on the field.
“Right now, the biggest thing we have to work on is walking out and knowing that what we do works,” she said. “We have great players in our program that can do amazing things at game time.
“They need to bring that confidence to the game, and if they do, we will walk away with a win.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org