The Royal Knights' lone loss of the season didn't sting as much as some might think. The 2-1 setback to Land O'Lakes last month simply jolted River Ridge. It let coach Skip Glover and his girls know there is more talent on the North Suncoast than in recent seasons.
No game is a gimme.
"It's probably some of the toughest in-county competition we've had," Glover said. "Land O'Lakes, Hudson and Wiregrass Ranch all look good. This year, overall most of the teams have provided good competition."
The Royal Knights have rebounded winning two in a row heading into Wednesday's game at Citrus. There's also a big in-county battle Friday against rival Gulf.
Though an 8-1-1 start is not unique for a River Ridge team, the way the Royal Knights have often dismantled opponents is different.
Instead of one or two stars, River Ridge offers a balanced attack providing production from both sides of the field. Even freshman Sarah Olin has come off the bench to score a pair of game-winning goals, Glover said.
Leading the charge has been juniors Jenny Karl (nine goals, four assists, 22 points) and Jessica Tata (seven goals, one assist, 15 points).
Defensively, Glover credits sweeper Alex Phillips as being the "anchor."
"This is probably the farthest I've gone without a double digit goal scorer," Glover said. "It makes us harder to defend. I have it coming from left and right, it's nice and even. It's spread out."
That range on offense could prove critical in the postseason.