Hoover (2-1) was voted second in the state coaches association preseason poll, but the Huskies are far from a finished product. After upending Wayne on the road, Hoover dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Class AAA No. 4 Lincoln County before bouncing back with a victory over visiting AA No. 3 Chapmanville on Friday.
"We're going to make a run at it, for sure,'' said Smith of the AA title. "It depends on how much better we get between now and then. Every game we play, we get a little bit better. Our region is stacked, as it always is. We've got to go through some tough teams. We feel whoever comes out of the region's got a good shot to win it. You just run the gantlet to get there.''
"We're not hitting as well as we should, but [Friday] we showed a big difference,'' said Rager, alluding to Hoover's eight hits against Chapmanville. "We're building.''
Smith said the one trait her team possesses that gives her the most hope will be an invaluable commodity as the stakes become higher in May.
"We're tougher,'' said the Hoover coach. "I can speak volumes about how important that is. It's one of the hardest things to teach. These girls are tough and they want to win. They expect to win, that's what I like.''
The loss to Wayne when it mattered most still resonates with the Huskies.
"We'll definitely remember that and it makes us work harder,'' said Rager.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.