By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE -- Although Clarke County, one of the area's premier girls soccer programs, totally dominated play defeating Stonewall Jackson 5-0 on Thursday in both teams' season opener, the Generals may have witnessed the emergence of a future star in freshman goalkeeper Rhea Jett.
"Rhea's play was just fabulous," Stonewall coach Chris Livesay said. "I'm really expecting good things from her."
The Eagles subjected Jett to a constant attack on the Generals' goal, but to the credit of Jett and sweeper Michaela Koontz, a fellow freshman, Clarke County spent the first 30 minutes of play in complete frustration.
"It was really frustrating at the beginning of the game," Eagles fullback Kasey Canterbury said. "But we eventually calmed down by the end of the first half. Their goalkeeper is really good, and she made things tough for us all night. We made some really good shots at her, but she just refused to let them go in."
From the opening whistle to the end of the game, the Generals rarely got the ball across midfield. Clarke County center halfback Logan Johnson and her teammates completely controlled the field and relentlessly attacked the Stonewall goal. The Generals were held to just one shot for the entire game, compared to the Eagles' 42 shots.
What was truly amazing, however, was that after 30 minutes and 13 shots on goal, the game was still scoreless.
"We've really been focusing on defense in practice and I think it may take a little while for us to start generating the type of offense that we want," Clarke County coach Terry Ellis said. "All in all, we played well and we played hard. We got several good crosses on their goal; we just need to get better at finishing up."
After 30 minutes, 13 shots and nine saves by Jett, the floodgates finally opened for the Eagles. Within a period of three minutes, Clarke County scored a trio of goals on as many shots to finally put the game away.
With 11:30 left in the first half, Johnson blasted a ball past Jett from 15 yards out to break the deadlock. Molly Devereaux scored the second Eagles' goal just 30 seconds later, and Christa Goad gave Clarke County its third and final goal of the first half on a hard shot past Jett with 8:35 left in the half.
"Clarke County has a really good team," Livesay said. "But I thought both teams played hard. We held them off for 30 minutes in the first half and matched them blow for blow. I'm really proud of how our girls played."
Jett's performance in the first half was nothing short of amazing. The Eagles took 25 first-half shots and kept the Generals so far away from the Clarke County goal that Eagles goalkeeper Brittany York only touched the ball once in the first half.
The second half was a repeat of the first half, with the Eagles again dominating play throughout. This time, however, it didn't take them 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard.
Devereaux got her second goal of the game just four minutes into the second half, putting the ball past Jett from five yards out. In all, Clarke County took 17 shots on Jett and the Generals in the second half, but had to wait until the final 10 minutes of play to get their final goal of the game.
It came on a shot by Brogan Jones from 15 yards out. Jett, however, had nine more saves in the second half.
"I can tell you that playing in a varsity game is a lot different than anything I've ever experienced," Jett said. "I thought I played well, but they have such a good team. I just tried to focus on what I was doing and pay very careful attention to what they were doing offensively, but it was really difficult."