Long road trips take a toll on a professional sports team, but even for a high school team, continual cross-county travel isn’t easy.
Robinson senior striker J.H. Musick noticed his team’s players didn’t come out with the same tenacity as they used to. Defender Kevin Murphy missed the wider pitch the Rams are used to playing on, and Diego Hadalgo said the team lacked passion in a 1-0 loss to Stone Bridge on April 16.
After opening the season with a seven-game road swing, a run which saw the team go 6-1, the feeling on the bench was mutual.
The Rams just wanted to go home.
"We've just had a ton of away games," Murphy said. "It's going to be so nice to go home."
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The wait to return to Robinson will soon be over. The Rams home opener is on April 23 against Westfield, one of the team's Concorde District rivals.
"I can't wait for the first home game," Hadalgo said. "It's going to lift up our spirits and we'll play even better."
So, maybe the Rams are a little homesick, but head coach Jay Cicala said his team's road warrior mentality over the past few weeks has been nothing but a positive.
"It's toughening the team up and making them deal with a lack of a comfort zone," he said. "The team has to play on different fields they are not used to, and it's going to help us later on if we get in to playoff situations where we are on the road."
But the team's anticipation to go home hasn't halted its roll over Northern Region opponents. On April 20, the Rams stunted Oakton 4-0, making up for their Stone Bridge slip-up.
Robinson took control of the match from the start.
"It was great to come out here and learn something from our Stone Bridge loss," Cicala said.
J.H. Musick opened the scoring with a header five minutes into the game. The quick start to the game helped the Rams set the game's tempo and show Cicala they had corrected mistakes from their loss.
"It stinks to go out and lose," Musick said. "But to come out and cream a team makes you feel better."
Considered by many as one of the top boys' soccer teams in the Region, the Rams will enjoy a four game home-stand before taking to the road to face Edison on May 7.
Even with the team's early success, Musick wants the Rams to refocus themselves for the end of the season.
"We just have to have more heart and pride when we come out to these games," he said. "This was probably the first game where we came out hard."