By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG -- Stonewall Jackson boys soccer coach Caleb Golladay had a plan in mind last season when he named then-junior Jonas Jacuinde one of the Generals' team captains for the entire 2013 season.
Golladay knew the talent that he was going to lose to graduation from a loaded Stonewall squad that eventually finished as the Group A state runner-up last year, and he also knew how important Jacuinde's role would be for the Generals this season.
"I knew that he was definitely one our upcoming juniors last year that needed to take the role of leading a team a year early because of the role he'd play this year," Golladay said on Tuesday. "He was the coach's choice for captain last year, and that was mostly just to get him involved more with the team and getting him to be more vocal, because he's a quiet kid."
Jacuinde, a four-year player for Stonewall's varsity program, has settled nicely into his leadership role for the Generals this season. Golladay said Jacuinde is more vocal this year, and he added that Jacuinde demands respect on the field with his play while he "demands the ball and controls the field, and controls the tempo."
Jacuinde is still continuing to fully grow into the role, but he may have finally started to put it all together in a pair of wins last week for the Generals. Jacuinde, The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for April 20-26, recorded two assists in Stonewall's 8-0 victory over Luray on April 22 and earned his first career hat trick with three goals in a 6-0 win over Page County last Thursday.
"I felt like both games I actually played well. I felt really confident playing and I just felt like I just knew that I was actually going to play good," Jacuinde said. "After I got the first goal I knew that I was actually going to score more, so it got my confidence more up after I got that first goal."
That first goal that Jacuinde scored against Page County -- which came in the 25th minute off an assist by teammate Roberto Cardoso Jr. -- was also Jacuinde's first of the season. But it was the second goal he scored that stuck out the most for Jacuinde.
With just less than 10 minutes to play in the first half, Cardoso -- who had three goals of his own in the win -- sent a perfect through ball to Jacuinde, who said he didn't even have to look back to see if the pass was coming before planting the ball into the back of the net.
"Me and Roberto have been playing since we were in maybe third or fourth grade, so we have a really great chemistry together where I don't even have to look and I know he'll be right there," Jacuinde said. "Once he got the ball I didn't even have to look back. I knew he was going to pass it to me right away. It's a good thing to have really good chemistry like that."
Jacuinde's breakout performance led Golladay to award a late penalty kick opportunity to the senior, who converted the shot with seven minutes left in the match.
"I knew he would come up and he would finish it, so I wanted to go ahead and give that to him," Golladay said.
Jacuinde said his role this season really hasn't been to score goals. He serves as more of a facilitator to his teammates from his midfield position, setting them up for their own scoring opportunities, although last Thursday's performance has given him a boost of confidence to try to attack the goal a little more, he said.
But Jacuinde doesn't necessarily need to score for Stonewall Jackson to be successful on the pitch.
"He's been playing well. Even against teams like Millbrook where we lost ... we weathered them so well and he was a big factor in that because he stepped his game up to their level," Golladay said. "He, along with a couple other players, stepped up and that's what they've been doing these last couple games, is stepping up their level of play. He's been the leading force in that."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD