By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG -- Stonewall Jackson's Cristy Lazaro-Luna rarely gets the opportunity to lead the Generals' offensive attack, as coach Chris Livesay generally has the speedy senior planted somewhere along the defensive back line.
But in Monday's Shenandoah District girls soccer match with visiting Luray, Livesay opted to shake up his lineup in order to give some players chances to star in unfamiliar positions, and Lazaro-Luna found herself starting at forward.
Lazaro-Luna looked as if she's played the position for years, as the senior scored a pair of first-half goals -- her first of the season -- to help spark an 8-0 mercy-rule shortened victory over the Bulldogs.
"Coach Livesay has given me the opportunity, I just never actually have [scored]. So to start off as a forward, which I don't ever do, was kind of freaky," Lazaro-Luna said, "but I just got used to it and I just kind of went for it, and it happened.
"It just was exhilarating."
It didn't take long for Lazaro-Luna to get comfortable in her new role, as the senior found the back of the net for the game's first goal early in the ninth minute.
After a rare trip by Luray (1-10-1, 1-9 Shenandoah) into Stonewall's side of the field, Lazaro-Luna broke away behind the defense on a long ball and found herself in a one-on-one opportunity against Luray goalkeeper Elizabeth Wachter. Lazaro-Luna's initial shot from the middle of the penalty box was blocked by Wachter (18 saves), but the ball bounced straight back to Lazaro-Luna, who poked the ball past Wachter on the second try to give Stonewall a 1-0 lead.
Stonewall senior Taylor Koontz scored four minutes later to extend the lead to two goals before Lazaro-Luna struck again in the 22nd minute. Once again, Lazaro-Luna found herself behind the defense as she chased down a long ball, and she converted again to give the Generals a 3-0 lead.
"That was great. She's really kind of blossomed into a great defender for us. I kept trying and working with her, but she was very timid and shy, didn't want to go up front. So finally this year I was like, 'You're going, I don't care,'" Livesay said. "Everybody deserves the right to have that feeling."
Stonewall (10-3, 9-3) scored again late in the first half as freshman Brittany Singleton scored on a breakaway of her own to give the Generals a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Monday's win was a complete team effort, as seven different players scored goals for the Generals. Stonewall also outshot the Bulldogs, 41-2.
Junior Allison Singleton scored to open the second half, and sophomore Emily Jordan converted on a Koontz assist to widen the gap to six goals in the 47th minute.
Senior Rhea Jett, who spent the first half in goal for the Generals and made two saves, played in the field for part of the second half and scored in the 56th minute on an assist by Koontz. Jett, still visibly limping after suffering an ankle injury a few weeks ago, became an instant target for Stonewall's cross passes into the box as soon she took the field about 10 minutes into the half.
"She loves to score and she loves playing on the field, and she doesn't really get to, especially this year because she had an injury," Koontz, who finished with a goal and three assists, said. "She hasn't gotten to play [the field] that much so that was one of our primary goals, was to get her a goal this time."
The match ended when sophomore Ally Hepner's shot from the top of the box found the net with 15:36 showing on the clock.
Stonewall plays again tonight at Page County before ending the regular season with a home match against Stuarts Draft.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com