Generals’ combination too much for Panthers

By Jeff Nations

QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson’s girls soccer team unveiled what is fast becoming a deadly combination just four minutes into Thursday’s game against Shenandoah District rival Page County.

Generals sophomore Brittany Singleton started a run through the middle of the box, but seeing defenders ahead deftly crossed the ball out to teammate Emily Jordan on the right. Panthers goalkeeper Mary Ott never had a chance against Jordan’s slicing shot back through the box and into the left corner.

Both Singleton and Jordan, a junior forward, were just getting started on Thursday. Jordan finished with three goals after tallying four in Tuesday’s overtime win against Luray, and Singleton tallied three more assists after notching five two days before as the Generals rolled to a 9-1 win that ended early via the mercy rule.

Jordan’s opening goal gave Stonewall Jackson (3-6, 3-4 Shenandoah) the early lead, which might have appeared to be enough, considering the winless Panthers had managed just one goal in their first seven games. Page County’s Ellen Kelly doubled that total just a minute after Jordan’s goal when she slipped a defender in the box and ripped a shot over Stonewall keeper Jessica Pechie (seven saves) for the equalizer.

“I think it was a lack of communication, but I think it definitely did wake us up a little bit,” Stonewall’s Allison Singleton said.

Sluggish from the start, the Generals snapped to attention after Kelly’s goal.

Stonewall’s pressure forced another breakdown with 27:38 left in the first half, as the Generals’ Kelsey Kokkonen tracked down a loose ball in the box and chipped a shot over Ott for the go-ahead score.

Page County (0-8, 0-6 Shenandoah) gave up an own goal later in the half, and Brittany Singleton tallied her goal with 13:29 to go off a shot from the top of the penalty box.

After outshooting the Panthers 19-5 in the first half, Stonewall managed to amp up the intensity even more after the break. Allison Singleton’s through ball found Jordan alone in the penalty box for another goal just six minutes into the second half, and Kayla Miller fed Jordan again less than a minute later with a cross into the box.

“This year I’ve had to take on more of a scoring role and have more of a scoring mentality,” Jordan said.

Jordan, who started the week with two goals, has nine now.

“She’s definitely stepped up her game,” Generals coach Derek Hartwig said. “Tuesday she had four of them, and she’s kind of taken over the offense and kept going. She’s had a great week.”

Allison Singleton got her first goal of the day with 27:41 to play on a cross from Brittany Goldman, and the quick-striking Generals went up 8-1 less than a minute after that when Amber Gonzalez followed for a goal off Brittany Singleton’s shot.

Hartwig credited Brittany Singleton’s vision on the field with helping Stonewall’s offense emerge this week.

“Her knowledge of the game is incredible,” Hartwig said. “She’s always got her eyes open for the shot, and if she doesn’t have it she’s always seeing where the ball can be put for someone else to take an opportunity.”

Allison Singleton’s second goal of the game with about 13 minutes to go, off yet another Brittany Singleton assist, ended the game. Ott finished with 18 saves for Page County.

“I think every game, I think we were getting closer and closer to putting it all together,” Allison Singleton said. “As the game went on, we sort of picked it up and started doing exactly what we needed to do with the small passes, which is what we’ve been trying to focus on.”