LAUREL CO, Ky (WYMT)- Despite finishing last season with a 26-6 record, the Lady Cardinals felt they came up short.
"Well losing to Harlan was pretty rough and I think that motivated us to work harder and practice and not get in that position again," said Junior, Amerah Steele.
But two weeks before the start of the 2018-19 season, a new challenge arose for South Laurel.
"It is different just because I've never faced this challenge where literally I'm going to have 4 or 5 practices before our first game," said Head Coach, Chris Souder.
Despite getting a new coach one week before the start of the season, the Lady Cardinals are making improvements.
"Well it's been rough the past couple of weeks but we have worked a lot on our defense to be able to get stops and our offense is pulling together really nice," said Senior, Dianna Morgan.
"Well he's only been here for a short period of time but we're already playing faster," said Junior, Ally Collett.
South Laurel's rich history made the coaching job so appealing to Chris Souder. Souder coached the Mercer County Lady Titans before coaching at the collegiate level for two months. The experience Souder learned has already made an impact.
"More knowledge just about everything more about the high tempo of the game," said Junior, Amerah Steele.
"We haven't had a coach that has been as far as him so having him here beside us all the way is really good," said Morgan.
South Laurel returns four key players that have already received offers to play at the next level and bring in Sydnie Hall who brings high expectations. Despite missing out on the Sweet 16 last year, the Cardinals have their eyes on Rupp Arena.
"We've hit a bump we get to the semi-finals in the region can't get past that. I hope we get past that and make it to state," said Senior, Mariah Anders.
"I think the skies the limit. Honestly, you have to look out for the district, region, and state but I think we can go all the way," said Steele.
"This team is very excited. We have a chance to go to state and possibly win state," said Junior, Sydnie Hall.
Something their coach is no stranger to, making it to the final four and winning back to back state titles the last three years.
"It's a lot of hard work and that is what I'm hoping to bring to them is the experience we've been there done that and I don't think people know how hard you have to work on a daily basis," said Souder.
The South Laurel Lady Cardinals open up the season ranked No. 1 in the girls' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.