By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG -- Stonewall Jackson boys soccer coach Caleb Golladay had warned his team not to look past Shenandoah District foe Page County prior to Friday's match. And for the first half, it appeared Golladay's words had fallen on deaf ears.
The Generals were slow to get going, as they found themselves trailing early in the contest. The offense finally kicked in for Stonewall, however, and four goals by junior Roberto Cardoso Jr. helped the Generals roll to a 9-1 win over the Panthers.
"That was one thing that I stressed in practice yesterday, and a lot before the game today. They came out flat, and they did exactly what we said not to do," Golladay said. "It just seemed like no matter what ... everything I kept saying, it just wasn't going anywhere."
It's tough to be too critical about an eight-goal victory, but considering that Stonewall (7-0, 5-0 Shenandoah) led just 2-1 at halftime gave Golladay and the Generals plenty to be concerned about.
It wasn't that the Generals couldn't mount an attack -- Stonewall fired 21 shots in the first half -- they just couldn't seem to find the back of the net. Part of that was due to Page County (2-5, 1-4) keeper Colin Anderson, who recorded eight of his 12 saves in the first 40 minutes. But some of it was that the Generals simply couldn't finish.
"We had no trouble getting to the goal, it was just when we got there, everything was horrible," Generals senior Juan Luna said. "I don't know if it just nervousness -- I don't know, but it was definitely a bad start."
Stonewall found itself trailing just seven minutes into the match, when a lack of communication on defense led to a Panthers goal. Several Generals collided with each other as they tried to get to the ball in the penalty box, and Page County freshman Bradley Dovel slipped a shot past keeper Ryan Zerkel to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
"Jacob Armell, he got caught a little high. He stepped in for a ball and it got put over the top and their forward was perfectly onside with one of our guys," Golladay said. "It was a great finish he made past Ryan -- I wasn't expecting him to get in as well as he did."
The lead didn't last long for Page County, however, as Stonewall's Leo Galindez found Cardoso with a through ball that snuck past the defense, and Cardoso punched the ball into the net to tie the match in the 14th minute.
"[Galindez] made a perfect run, a perfect assist," Cardoso said. "All I had to do was put it into the back of the net."
Cardoso scored again in the 25th minute to give Stonewall a 2-1 lead at halftime, and from there the Generals rolled.
Generals junior Jonas Jacuinde sent a shot from the top of the penalty box through the legs of Anderson five minutes into the second half to extend the lead to two goals, and Stonewall's offense exploded for five goals in a 12-minute span later in the half.
Cardoso and Luna added two goals apiece during the outburst, and senior David Dodson also added a goal. Junior Jesus Ortiz capped the scoring for Stonewall, as he sent a shot across the box from about 20 yards out into the back of the net to end the game via the mercy rule with 6:25 showing on the clock.
"[Golladay] told us to just keep working hard and that instead of passing it so much in the 18, that we needed to take shots and see what came out of that," Cardoso said. "We've got to play how we know how to play."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org