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Finger-lickin' good twist: Birds put Colonel in the fryer

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By Mike Forster

    These Eagles can soar.

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    In a series of games with Blue Ridge foe William Fleming, the Eagles made the most of their opportunities.
    While the two schools' baseball game was postponed (due to a soggy field), the Eagles cleaned house in boys and girls soccer, as well as in softball.
    The Staunton River girls soccer team put on a show of strength in completely dominating visiting William Fleming on the Eagles' Nest pitch last Tuesday.
    The fans who came out to the contest were not treated to the full extent of the River potential, however.  After the Eagles racked up four goals in the match's first 13 minutes, Head Coach Jeff D'Aiuto called off the hounds.  The final tally had six for his Lady Eagles.
    Meanwhile, the Colonels had to settle for a goose egg on their side of the tally sheet.  And, as any fan of fast food knows, the Colonel is interested in chicken, not eggs.
    All puns aside, Staunton River showed what kind of blitzkrieg it can unleash.
    The game wasn't into its third minute when Taylor Tester took a long feed from  Emily Hillman and found herself in a one-on-one with  Fleming keeper Tierra Holland:  every goalkeeper's nightmare.
    Tester made quick work of things, popping a scoring shot just under the crossbar.
    Scant seconds later, Erika Hannell then got into the scoring swing.  She blasted a shot from 40 yards away, which Holland found too hot to handle.  2-0, SR.
    One minute later, Tester was illegally tackled in the box.  Her subsequent penalty kick made it 3-0.
    Exactly five minutes had elapsed.
    Moving from striker to midfield, Tester showed she can dish out as well as receive.  She found Madison Maxey in the open.  The sophomore got a clean look and drilled a shot past a diving Holland.
    It should be noted that Holland made some superb saves during the game.  Sometimes one can do just so much when one finds oneself in a shooting gallery.
    D'Aiuto, much to his credit, pulled Tester at this point. 
    But his team is much more than the Mars Hill University-bound Tester.
    Near the midpoint of the first half, Caylin Newman executed the give-and-go to perfection.  The freshman got  into the scoring act when her shot was deflected by Holland right back to her.  She deftly closed the deal with a shot just inside the upright.
    Maxey finished off the scoring.  The sophomore's second tally of the game was the lone score of the second half.
    The win improved the Lady Eagles' Blue Ridge mark to 3-0-1.  Following a 1-1 tie with Lord Botetourt and a pair of 2-1 wins (over Northside and William Byrd), this 6-0 over Fleming was a gaggle of goals, a torrent of tallies, scads of scores.
    "We're staying in tight games, and either winning or tying them," said River Head Coach Jeff D'Aiuto.  "Our girls' heads are in the right places."
    So, let's tip our hat to a very stingy defense, which has featured Newman, Emily Stegner, Savannah Cowan, Kimmi Martin and Jenn Bisnet, among others.  Those players have provided solid cover for freshman keeper Sydnee Ayers.
    Can that defense drive future success?
    "We'd be very pleased if we could be 5-0-1 at the turning point," said D'Aiuto.  "That would be killer."

Rivermen roll on pitch
    The Eagle men also picked up a soccer win, their first Blue Ridge victory of the season.
    They did so in fine fashion, topping a talent-laden crew from William Fleming with a nifty 2-0 score.
    "The William Fleming game was very good for both sides," said River Head Coach Michael Gaviorno. 
    Indeed, the Colonels showed a lot of flash in playing their possession-oriented game. 
    But, they didn't possess it well enough.  Chase Deaton was the first to tally, during the game's first stanza.  The insurance goal was put in by Matt Miller in the second forty minutes of play.
    "We started playing very high pressure," noted Gaviorno.  "And we continued to do that throughout the entirety of the match."
    The Eagles enter the spring break on a high note.  During that break, the coach expects "we are going to continue to work hard to keep winning."
    At 2-3-2, the Eagles have a decent shot at going over the .500 mark, given that they return from break to face Rockbridge and Alleghany, teams with which they measure up decently.
    With nine regular-season games remaining on their slate, the Eagles have already matched the team win total from last season.

Mercy, mercy me
    A team which has been desperately seeking offensive firepower got it in a big way.  As a result, the Staunton River softball nine trounced William Fleming, 14-1.
    The big score meant that the visitors from Moneta only got to swing away for five innings of play, it being called on account of the mercy rule.  The last time Staunton River had been involved in a mercy-rule game was almost exactly a year prior to the Fleming game, when it topped Waynesboro, 10-0, in six innings.
    As usual, the Golden Eagles got solid pitching.  This time, it was Taylor Creasy who took over the circle, twirling a two-hitter.  The sophomore whiffed a total of four Colonel would-be batsmen.
    But the big news from this contest was the fireworks generated by the River bats.  In their preceding three games, the Eagles had mustered a total of four runs.  They nearly tripled that total during five innings in Roanoke.
    The infielders really smacked the tater around.  Third baseman Macey Arthur was belting the ball with gleeful gusto.  She had 3/4 of a cycle, belting a single, double and triple.  The sophomore also drove in a pair.
    Shortstop Madison Meador had a double and three RBIs.
    Second baseman Kelsey Padgett also had a triple and an RBI for Staunton River.
    The Eagles now stand 2-4, overall.