Anchorage When no one expects you to be a contender, it's easy to play with a chip on your shoulder.
But when you're the team that everyone wants to take out? That's a different story entirely.
For the 2019 South girls varsity soccer team, the confidence gained from winning the state title in 2018 has helped propel the team into the successful season they've had so far.
"I think it's a lot about our cohesiveness as a team. We just get along really well and it's really good for chemistry on the field," South sophomore Molly McLaughlin said.
The Wolverines have yet to lose this season, and with that in the back of their minds, they're just trying to focus on one game at a time.
"We know our potential and our ability and that just makes us.. I don't know, that just gives us a lot of confidence," senior Carin Currier said with a laugh.
Head coach Brian Farrell says his team, which is made up of mostly sophomores and juniors, handles the pressure immensely well. Especially since everyone seems to be gunning for them.
"When you've got that state title on your back, people want to come after you," Farrell said.
For the players, it's about ignoring the nerves and focusing on the task at hand. That's what helps sophomore Gracie Hoover.
"You just come out, you try and play your best and I think when you just relax, that's how you play your best. Which, yeah, there definitely is some pressure there. I still get nervous before the games and a lot of girls do but we just try and shake it off and once the whistle blows, just play to our potential, " she says with a smile.
As the halfway mark approaches for the season, the team knows it has a tough road ahead but whatever the challenge, they'll face it together.