CROWN POINT | Sarah Rivich has seen Crown Point become one of, if not the, premier girls soccer program in the area during her four seasons with the Bulldogs.
And Rivich has had a lot to do with that.
"Our (senior) class hates losing," Rivich said. "Even in practice, we play as hard as we can. We don't give up."
Coach Chris Mikrut says a "culture of success" has developed during his tenure at the helm and Rivich's high school career.
"It's about working hard every day," Mikrut said. "You can see it in how many first balls we win. It has nothing to do with good soccer, just outworking people."
The resume Rivich has built speaks volumes on the four-year starter as an individual. The reigning Times Player of the Year has earned virtually every state, conference and local award possible more than once and was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-region IV last season.
"The other girls pick up on her energy, her play," Mikrut said. "She always comes to play and compete."
Rivich is talented enough to play virtually anywhere on the pitch. Mikrut says he has the freedom to move her back if he's trying to protect a lead, put her up front if the team needs a goal or keep her in the middle and let her influence the game any number of ways.
"She brings another aspect to the game, athletically, that you just don't usually see in soccer," Mikrut said. "Most soccer players are tactical, but she's an athlete."
Some of the area's other top players left their high school teams when the U.S. Soccer Development Academy extended its season into the prep one this year. Rivich chose to stay with the 'Dogs.
"I enjoy (high school soccer), every second of playing," she said. "I want to be at practice."
Crown Point is 16-3 and Rivich has notched 14 goals and nine assists as a senior. The Bulldogs are Duneland Athletic Conference and sectional champs, with a chance at more trophies this week in the Valparaiso Regional.
The Bullsogs will play Munster in Saturday's semifinal.
"Our season's gone pretty good, so far," Rivich said. "We haven't lost to a team in the region and that's a great accomplishment."