The dam has broken and the flood waters are flowing.
That's one way to look at Navarro's women's soccer program that had problems scoring when the season started.
Suddenly those Bulldogs are bombing the back of the net and are on fire. Just look at their last two games, an 8-0 win over Paris on Saturday and a 6-0 party in Jacksonville Wednesday.
You don't have to be a math major or a soccer aficionado to know a 14-0 differential means life is good and everything is going right.
“We had those opportunities early in the season but we just weren't finishing and scoring,” said Navarro's coach Alicia Wilson, who has produced nationally ranked powerhouse teams since she arrived at Navarro.
“We have so many freshmen this year, and I think they were anxious and that's one reason we had trouble scoring. We were getting open but we weren't putting the shots away.
“And then we knew it would take some time for this team to come together and get the right chemistry, and we knew it would take them a while to learn our system and get comfortable playing the way we want them to play.”
Wilson, whose team made it to the national tournament last season, lost a ton of scoring when her top three players graduated and went on to play at four-year programs. She knew the team would have to find new ways to score, especially since the program fielded a record number of freshmen. Navarro's roster has 23 players and 18 of them are brand new freshmen.
Wilson felt the team take a big turn during a prestigious tournament in Kansas, where Navarro played back-to-back games against national powerhouse Butler and Rose State, a team Wilson said would “probably make it to the nationals this year.”
Butler edged Navarro 1-0, but the next day Manyima Stevelmans, a freshman who was born in Gambia and came to the US from the Netherlands, hit a spectacular shot from 30-yards out that made the NJCAA's top goals of the year list.
Stevelmans’ laser shot beat Rose State 1-0 to give Navarro its first victory of the season, and nothing has been the same for Wilson's young team since.
“We out-played Butler and had three one-on-ones and should have beaten them 3-1, but we just didn't score,” Wilson said. “But we won the game against a very good team from Rose State team when Manyima made that shot. She hit a rocket!”
Since Stevelmans’ “rocket” Navarro has won four in a row and is now 4-2 for the season. More importantly, the Bulldogs are 3-0 in the conference race, which will determine where they land in the postseason. They've also moved up from No. 11 to No. 9 in the NJCAA national poll.
The goal is to win the conference, which includes No. 2-ranked Tyler, and advance to the national tournament again.
“We've never started like this before,” Wilson said of the drought of scoring to start the season. But there was no panic. We were putting the work in and I felt we would start to see results, and we have.
“I just told them that at some point we have to figure out ways to win games,” she said. “We were going through a whole learning experience with a new team. Now it's coming.”
Navarro, which has played just one home game all year (last Saturday against Paris) has two games left — a conference game at Blinn on Tuesday and then a conference game at Angelina in Lufkin Sept. 21 — before the first meeting against Tyler on the road Oct. 1.
The two annual conference games between Tyler and Navarro are always classic showdowns and have been for years because both programs produce teams with a chance to win the national title every year.
The Bulldogs play Tyler in the regular season finale at home on Oct. 22 at the Roark Montgomery Soccer complex before both teams head to the postseason for what has been an annual showdown for more than a decade.
Wilson just wants her team to keep growing toward that postseason run.
It's been a week of big leaps for several players. On Wednesday Nicole Olaya, a freshman from Houston, had her first hat trick, scoring three times against Jacksonville. She scored five goals in Navarro's two wins this week. Samantha Moran scored twice against Jacksonville and has three goals in the past two games. Stevelmans also scored twice against Jacksonville, and has three goals since her rocket shot against Rose State.
Stevelmans had two assists against Paris on Saturday, setting up Moran, who had a goal and an assist and Olaya, who scored twice. Annalise Rangel also scored twice against Paris and Roneisha Frank, a sophomore, scored her first goal of the season against Paris.
Tateyanna Pitter, a sophomore and one of three team captains, scored a goal and had an assist, and Laura Jansa, a brilliant freshman goalkeeper from Spain, who also plays as a striker at times, scored on a PK and handed out an assist in the 8-0 win.
Grace Staunton picked up the shutout in goal.
It has been a fast turnaround for the Bulldogs, but Wilson knows her young freshman-led team, has a long way to go.
“We have a new team that is getting that feeling of playing together and finding the intensity that's required to play here,” she said. “That takes time to learn our system, and it seemed we didn't have much time to find that chemistry. But we know what we're aiming for. After we beat Rose State, I told them from now on you decide — you decide if we are going to win. We know where we want to be at the end of the year, and that's what we're playing for.”