When a school sports program has a down year, it often takes time to retool and recover.
Pueblo East's girls soccer team is doing everything possible to make sure that recovery time is as short as possible.
After enduring a winless season last year, senior Alexis Sisneros, the team's goalkeeper, is ready to help turn things around. And she's getting some serious help from one of the younger players on the team, freshman forward Brailey Rowe.
“I feel like it's a new year and new mentality,” Sisneros said. “This year, this team comes in and works hard every day and I see it on the field. And we're winning games which matter.”
Last year, the Eagles went 0-15 and were often blown out in games. There seemed to be a lack of energy and the team was unable to work together to overcome the adversity.
Insert the freshman Rowe, who has brought some spark back to the team.
“I played when I was little, stopped for a little bit, but then I kind of brought it back because I love teamwork and I like working together and building people up, not only to win, but to have fun," Rowe said.
"And I feel like this group of girls will have fun together. I watched some games last year and it seemed like they were down on themselves a lot when they were losing, and I feel like we could just boost that up and just play a better game, really.”
One of the biggest differences Sisneros sees on this year's squad is her teammates' overall mentality.
“Last year, the attitude was different,” Sisneros said. “This year is way different; very, very, different. You have freshmen stepping up on the field, you have everyone working together and it's just a different mentality.”
Sisneros is a team leader as well as its last line of defense. She has been playing goalie most of her life and enjoys the pressure that comes with being her team's last-ditch effort to prevent an opponent from scoring.
“My dad taught me when I was little,” Sisneros said. “I've been playing since 3 or 4. I like the hustle, and like when it counts in the end (and) I could save my team."
And while this season has still been far from perfect for the Eagles, the renewed mentality is seemingly making a difference: the team has already scored more goals this season than all of last year and with a 2-8 start has doubled the number of wins achieved by East in the past two seasons combined.
Despite being just a freshman, Rowe has already helped improve the team's energy and confidence. She is hoping the energy she brings to the field will continue to be infectious.
“I'm trying to bring, just like a good attitude,” Rowe said. “A good attitude so we can have fun and work hard at the same time.”
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Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @chowebacca
This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo East girls soccer turning things around following winless season