Luna scores four goals as Generals roll
By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson could have easily looked past visiting Amelia County in Wednesday’s Region B boys soccer semifinal match.
The Generals, coming off a dramatic triple-overtime victory over Clarke County in Monday’s quarterfinal game, couldn’t possibly expect the same type of challenge from the Raiders when the two teams squared off on Wednesday for a Group A state tournament berth.
Although Stonewall undoubtedly has its eye on a possible trip to Radford in the state tournament, the Generals remain solely focused on the here and now. Fueled by senior Juan Luna’s four goals, the Generals rolled to a 7-1 win over Amelia County, securing their first trip to the state tournament since 2009.
Stonewall will host Bull Run District champion George Mason on Friday at 7 p.m. in the regional championship match. A win on Friday would mean that Stonewall hosts a state quarterfinal match next week.
“I knew coming into this game that it wouldn’t be near the game we had on Monday, but we still didn’t take this lightly,” said Stonewall coach Caleb Golladay. “That was the biggest thing that we wanted to do, we wanted to come in and make sure we finished this game.”
Stonewall Jackson (21-0) made that statement quickly, as senior David Dodson scored the first goal of the game just two minutes into the match.
On the play, Dodson chased down a through ball into the penalty box by Luna, and Dodson, Raiders goalkeeper David Cope and an Amelia County defender all collided in the middle of the box as all three converged on the ball. Dodson was the only player left standing after the initial contact, and he easily poked the ball through the open net to give the Generals a 1-0 lead.
“I wasn’t expecting us to get a goal that quick. Once we did get the goal, it seemed like we kind of sat back a little bit and kind of played around with it,” Golladay said. “Once we hit our stride, we kind of just kept going.”
Stonewall fired several shots over the next 10 minutes with no luck before Luna connected on a shot into the top right corner of the net from 18 yards out to stretch the lead to 2-0 in the 12th minute.
Luna struck again in the 23rd minute, when he uncorked a lining shot from 30 yards away that screamed past a diving Cope and into the right side of the net.
“We heard a bunch of stuff from Amelia that they were good — obviously they were good, their record shows that they’re good — and we weren’t expecting those [quick goals],” Luna said. “But we are who we are, and it works.”
The Generals added another goal five minutes later as freshman Pedro Jacuinde chased down a long ball from Luna before dribbling to his left and connecting from 20 yards out to put Stonewall up 4-0 going into halftime.
Stonewall didn’t score again until the 52nd minute, but the Generals scored two goals in a 22-second span to widen the gap to six.
Roberto Cardoso Jr. began the second-half scoring on an unassisted goal from the top of the penalty box, and Cardoso then found Luna for an assist on Luna’s third goal of the match.
Cardoso and Luna hooked up again with 2:57 showing on the game clock for Luna’s fourth goal of the match.
“Our chemistry has done a lot. Last year we didn’t have as good chemistry as we do this year,” Cardoso said. “This year is just like on top. We know how we play, what we’re going to do with the ball. We just play how we play in practice and that’s how we get our goals.”
Amelia County’s (16-2-1) lone goal came in the 68th minute, when Grayson Askew’s shot into the right side of the net snuck by the outstretched arms of Generals goalkeeper Ryan Zerkel.
Stonewall enjoyed a 32 to seven shot advantage in the match, and Zerkel had four saves. Cope recorded 11 saves for the Raiders.
Golladay said he wasn’t worried about having an uncompetitive match before having to square off with George Mason on Friday, as the Generals needed some rest after Monday’s extended contest.
“In a way I’m kind of happy that we had a game like this tonight, because Monday’s game took a lot out of us,” Golladay said. “We had some guys that cramped up — our guys took a good beating. So coming into a game like this and having this, it kind of helped us a little bit. I got a lot of my guys rested and put all my subs in.”
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org