Girls soccer roundup

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JF dominates Brookville

By Mike Forster


In recent years, while the JF girls soccer team would win the battle of the scoreboard, it was Brookville that won the battle of the bruises.

Not this time.

The Lady Cavs came away with a convincing 3-0 win over the Bees.  The JF crew also gave as good as it got in a physical, though cleanly played match at Sabre Stadium.

Senior Ashlie Freeman set the tone when she took a feed from Alyssa Mitchell and blasted a sand wedge over the head of Bee keeper Kaily Weiss just a few minutes into the game.

Cassidy Ratliff uncorked a beaut of a bullet to make it 2-0 a half hour into the match.

Then came 49 minutes of stalemate as the ladies went toe-to-toe.  There was plenty of pushing, pulling, slipping and sliding.

Grudges were burnished and yellow cards were furnished.

It wasn't until less than two minutes remained that anyone got back into the business of scoring.

That's when Riley Lee's corner kick found the noggin of freshman Jessica Mitchell.  The freshman's header was like a frozen rope.  Weiss hadn't a chance against it.

Meanwhile, the JF defense was like a belt of iron.  Center fullbacks Jessica O'Bryant and Courtney Mathews kept the middle of the field free of pesky Bees.  Meanwhile, outside defenders Lauren Vann and Kathryn Grachan neutralized the speed of the Brookville attack.

Additionally, Vann made some delightful dashes up the left side of the field, helping to keep the Brookville attack off balance.

Keeper Allie Gossen showed perfect timing and commitment on the few Bee chances.  Twice, the senior keeper committed at just the right time, making sliding saves, one of which sent Bee attacker Ashley Sankner flying in the air.

"Our defense is great at working together," said Gossen.  "It's good about getting things right.  We have each other's backs."

Added center midfielder Alyssa Mitchell, "We've learned to build plays from out of the backfield)."

And as for giving it to Brookville as good as the Bees give?

"We have to be assertive and stand our ground," said O'Bryant.

And that's just what they did.


Lady M-Men crush two

Liberty had a nice week for itself as Laura Garbarini led the Lady Minutemen in making mincemeat out of Rustburg and Heritage.

The junior forward had a total of seven goals as her team topped the Red Devils, 7-0, and the Pioneers, 7-1.

"The team did a phenomenal job of possessing the ball throughout the game," said Liberty Head Coach Jeff Steele, following the Rustburg win.  "We were able to connect on many of our attacks and continued to involve multiple players in scoring.

Steele pointed to Audrey McCombs and Brandi Wertz, who scored their first varsity goals against Rustburg.

Against Heritage, Garbarini scored three goals, keeping in line with her season scoring clip and giving her 18 for the year.

Also jumping on the gravy train were team captain Kiley Bartholomew, senior Logan Byers, Mariel Messier and Miranda Blackburn, ostensibly a defender.

Freshman Jillian Blackburn seems to be growing in confidence with each game she plays.  Of course the strong defense she has in front of her is certainly a reason for that.  The Liberty defenders only allowed six shots over the two matches.

At this point (though there is plenty of season left), it seems that Liberty is well positioned to finish in the top half of the Seminole.

Glass and JF are in the driver's seat for the top two slots.

After that, Liberty's got as good a shot as any for the third seed.  We like what we've seen so far from this group.


River falls to Northside

A bit of air left the Staunton River balloon as the Golden Eagles lost their first match of the season.

In falling to 5-1 (overall) and 1-1, the Eagles couldn't have chosen a worse opponent.  Northside, widely expected to vie for the Blue Ridge crown with Lord Botetourt and Staunton River, took out the Eagles by a score of 6-2.

Taylor Tester's two goals for Staunton River were not nearly enough to stem the onslaught of the marauding Lady Vikings. Both of Tester's goals came on feeds from Lauren Greene.

The River ladies dominated the match for the first 10 minutes, Northside seemed to own all the momentum for the next 20 and River seemed to regain Big Mo for the final 10 minutes of the first half.

All of that meant a 2-2 tie at the break. After the intermission, Northside used its deep bench to wear down the depleted Staunton River squad.

Missing two key players (Katie Edmondston and Eryn Campbell) from an already light roster, the Eagles endured a swarm of subbing Northsiders.  

"Early in the season, we averaged 12.3 seconds per possession," said River Head Coach Jeff D'Aiuto.  "Against Northside, it was nine seconds.  You give a team three more seconds, you give that opponent an edge.

"We're clearly a good possession team, but that doesn't necessarily translate into wins.