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Cougars shut out Generals

By Dennis Atwood - sports@nvdaily.com

QUICKSBURG -- Both squads had shutout wins on Friday, but only Stuarts Draft was able to repeat the feat with a 3-0 girls soccer victory over host Stonewall Jackson in Shenandoah District girls soccer action Tuesday night.

The Generals blanked Page County, 8-0, and Stuarts Draft shut out East Rockingham, 6-0, last week.

The Cougars had the more aggressive offense in the first half, launching 15 shots on goal to 10 for the Generals.

The first Stuarts Draft goal came at the five-minute mark, when sophomore forward Rayah Martin captured a corner kick and booted it from two yards out. The shot hit the cross bar and bounced across the goal line.

Stuarts Draft sophomore Natalya Stegura took advantage of Generals keeper Rhea Jett's deflection of Erin Clifton's shot and tapped it into paydirt for the Cougars second gaol of the night.

As the half wound down, both goalies showed their stuff in making remarkable saves.

In the 34th minute, Jett deflected Jillian Lewis' powerful shot from the left side, then lept off her feet to send Lewis' eight-yard followup over the crossbar.

Stuarts Draft keeper McKenna Carter used every bit of her 6-foot-2 height to fully extend vertically to finger tip Taylor Koontz' shot from the left penalty box line and send it over the cross bar.

Stonewall Jackson (3-4-1, 3-2-1 Shenandoah) made effective halftime adjustments and spent considerably more time in the offensive side of the pitch, but neither team could quite mount an effective attack early on, with only one shot on goal by each through 13 minutes.

"We just changed our formation," Generals coach Chris Livesay said. "At the beginning of the game, we started off with a more defensive formation. I never really played this team before, so I didn't know quite what to expect. I was kinda hoping with our defensive formation that we could put some pressure on, and we did. We had a couple of shots, but it wasn't enough.

"We made some adjustments with some players and changed our formation, and the girls responded quite well."

The Cougars (5-1, 5-1 Shenandoah) broke through in the 59th minute for the third goal when junior forward Mayzie Lewis's 15-yarder from the center off a perfect assist from Lewis on the outside.

Stuarts Draft unleashed an offensive flurry in the last 10 minutes, pulling the trigger for seven shots on goal, three by Lewis alone, but Jett kept them all outside of the goal.

"[That flurry] was player initiative," Cougars coach Caroline Wright said. "We started to believe in it at the time and to settle in. Our passing was crisper, and we were just playing it better."

The Generals had 17 shots on goal.

"All the teams are really good this year, and they have really strong offenses," Jett said. "It's been like this most of our games. [My saves] come from lots of practice. I just think our girls played really hard. I'm proud of them."

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