“It’s been an upward battle but this year I think we’re finally reaping some rewards,” Ruggs said. “We won a scrimmage against Pace Academy and we beat McEachern, a program I helped start.”
The tough past Ruggs is referring to five winless seasons and a one-win campaign which were all full of lopsided losses.
“It’s been a little slow because I get the girls late,” Ruggs said. “Meaning sometimes I don’t get them until freshman year and sometimes they don’t play until their junior year. It’s a high-skill sport meaning it’s pretty technical so we got to commit to the skill.”
Just like many other struggling programs, commitment has been the biggest issue for the Lady Bulldogs.
“They don’t commit to getting better,” Ruggs said. “They just don’t make time to do it. Basically, they’re only season players. They play three months and put their sticks down and don’t pick their sticks back up until the next season comes again.”
But Ruggs has reason to believe this season could propel things in a better direction because of preparation.
“This past offseason, we had summer training for the kids,” she said. “We also went to Gwinnett County to do work against girls who are more skilled. I’m sure that attributed to [a better start this year] but I think the greater thing that attributed to the success that is coming along is the fact that I have a junior heavy and senior-heavy team.”
After a 6-6 tie and a one-point loss against Greater Atlanta Christian, and a 10-2 setback to Lakeside-Evans, Tri-Cities returns to the field Wednesday against Kennesaw Mountain.
“The goals this season were that we were going to have better stick skills,” Ruggs said. “We were going to control the ball on offense and we were going to keep the scoring against us down.”
After Wednesday’s matchup, the Lady Bulldogs will begin a four-game homestand.