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While many coaches would envy Jedd Zaring’s position, the head coach of the Cavaliers is less than thrilled.
“I don’t like having a perfect record,” said Zaring.
Well, too bad, because that’s just what his team has, following a 5-0 win over Staunton River to wrap up the regular season. The Cavs finished 12-0 in district play and 16-0 overall, including wins over Western Albermarle, Glass, Cave Spring and Charlottesville.
Don’t get Zaring wrong. He appreciates the effort and accomplishments of his squad.
What concerns him is that he is not sure just how good this team is, as it hasn’t faced the adversity of losing.
With the post-season upon him, it would be nice to have such experience.
“We have a target on our chest,” added Zaring.
The team certainly merits that distinction. While the Cavs have not been blowing out opponents, they have been able to put together 16 quality wins.
The victory over Staunton River was no exception.
Josh Bowles was the man of the game in this one. The junior picked up the hat trick, despite battling an ankle injury.
Even slightly hobbled, Bowles can fly with his big-time speed.
Adding to the scoring were Andrew Dempsey, Ian Case and Filippo Zadra.
Zadra, the Italian import, has had four goals in the last couple of Forest games.
Zaring is encouraged that he has so many pieces of this team contributing. “People can’t concentrate on one guy,” he noted.
For now, Zaring seemed content with immediate gains and near-term objectives. “Our first goal was to win the regular season,” he said. His team, of course, accomplished that with a three-game lead over runner-up Brookville. “That’s important to get the top seed in the region.”
JF’s regional run will start with a home match, after skipping the first round.
It will be largely uncharted waters for the Cavs, including potential matches with Southern Valley and Massanutten teams.
“There’s a psychological side to the playoffs,” he added. “It’s not who you have, but how they play.”
A good example of that dynamic was seen last year when the Cavs fell to Northside (in the Region III semifinals), denying them a shot at states.
With Liberty and Staunton River having been beaten in the first round of the district tournament, Jefferson Forest remains the sole county team alive in the post season.
It is much too soon for this team to be thinking about the possibility of a run at a state title.
It is worthy to note, however, that the last time the Cavs rang up a perfect regular season record was in 1997, when it made it to the state quarterfinals.
The best run the Cavs have had in post-season play was in 2004, when they were state finalists. That year, Western Albermarle took the state crown.
In 2000 and 2006, they were state semifinalists, falling to Blacksburg in the elimination games.