Posted April 29, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Green Hornets blank banged-up Generals

By Jeff Nations

QUICKSBURG -- Ending up on the losing end of a shutout is never fun, but Stonewall Jackson's girls soccer team can take some solace in the fact that they have plenty of company when it comes to facing Wilson Memorial.

The Green Hornets have given up just one goal -- total -- in 10 games this season, including Monday night's 2-0 victory over the Generals in Shenandoah District action.

That one goal allowed earlier this season to Stuarts Draft was costly -- Wilson Memorial lost that one, 1-0 -- and maybe that experience has made the Green Hornets extra stingy.

"We're pretty good defensively," Wilson Memorial coach Scott Crist said. "Our back four and our keeper are really the strong points of our team. We feel like we can stay in any game just because we're really good defensively."

The Green Hornets nearly scored the knockout blow in the first minute, when Rachel Rutledge received a long-ball pass behind the Generals' back line. Stonewall's Michaela Koontz quickly caught up, but not before Rutledge got off a wicked shot that Stonewall keeper Rhea Jett had make diving save to keep out of the net.

It was the first of two spectacular first-half saves by Jett, who is still hobbling on a sore ankle after spraining it against Stuarts Draft on April 16. Jett did sit out a game to try and get back into playing condition, but Generals coach Chris Livesay said she's still at just around 80 percent.

"She's a real trooper for stepping in," Livesay said. "It was very questionable whether she was going to play or not, but by 3:30 we got approval from the trainer for her to play."

Nine minutes after Jett's first impressive save, she came up with an even more dramatic one. Wilson Memorial's Sierra Rose sprang loose on another breakaway, and kicked a slicing shot toward the right post. Jett dove and blocked the ball with her body, and the Generals cleared it to keep the game scoreless.

Wilson Memorial (8-1-1, 6-1-1 Shenandoah) finally cashed in on a long-ball opportunity with 28:27 left in the first half when Elizabeth Barnes popped free in the penalty area and hit a slicing shot into the left corner.

"We thought if we could play a ball over top or play a ball into space where we could run on it, we might have a speed advantage," Crist said. "It worked some and then other times it didn't work, but we were able to get a few over top anyway."

The Green Hornets outshot the Generals, 11-3, in the first half. The opportunities got even scarcer for Stonewall Jackson (7-3, 6-3 Shenandoah) over the final 40 minutes -- the Generals were outshot, 7-1.

"We just didn't play our game," Livesay said. "We just could not put two or three passes together. The girls were just a little bit flat tonight."

The Green Hornets got an insurance goal late on what looked very much like an own goal in the penalty box. Instead, Rachel Rutledge was credited with redirecting pass into the box from sister Emily Rutledge into the net with just 4:47 to play.

It's just the start of a tough week for the Generals, who face Riverheads tonight and are on the road at Luray on Wednesday for three straight games.

"We knew it was going to be a real tough game," Livesay said. "It's going to be a real tough schedule because we've got three games the next three days. We've got a couple of injuries but the girls played through them. We'll have to have them evaluated tomorrow and see how they're going to be able to do tomorrow night."

Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or jnations@nvdaily.com>

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137