By Tommy Keeler Jr.
QUICKSBURG -- With the loss of a lot of players to graduation, Emily Jordan knew she would have to step up for Stonewall Jackson's girls soccer team. So far this season she's done that and then some.
"I definitely wanted to take on more of the scoring role, and just become more of a leader in general for the team," Jordan said.
The junior forward leads the team in goals with nine, and also has two assists for the Generals this season.
Jordan has played on the varsity squad the last two years, and that experience has helped her coming into this season.
"I think last year we had some pretty dominant players that took control of the things, that she didn't really have the ability to go up and be in the spotlight," Stonewall Jackson coach Derek Hartwig said. "This year she's kind of taken the team on her back, and she's our main scorer right now.
"I think now that [last year's] seniors are graduated, she's kind of stepping up. She's been saying, 'It's my time now.'"
Jordan had seven goals in two victories for the Generals last week, which helped earn her The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for the week of April 21-27.
She had four goals in a 5-2 overtime victory over Luray on Tuesday. Jordan followed that up with three more goals in a 9-1 win over Page County on Thursday.
Jordan gave a lot of credit for her success to her teammates, especially sophomore Brittany Singleton, who had assists on five of her seven goals. Singleton had a combined eight assists last week in the two games.
"This year it's been really nice getting to work with Brittany because we just work so well together," Jordan said. "Our chemistry is really strong, and I hope to keep improving with that."
Jordan's speed and toughness have helped her lead the Generals throughout the young season.
The 4-foot-11 Jordan may be the smallest player on the field, but Hartwig said that doesn't stop her from taking on anyone on the pitch.
"She's not afraid. She's challenges some of the biggest girls out there," Hartwig said. "She's very determined to get to the ball. When she loses it she gets mad at first, but then she goes right after it. She's not afraid to go get the ball at all."
Jordan said she's been playing soccer since youth leagues, and it's become her favorite sport to play over the last few years.
She plays on a travel squad out of Harrisonburg, and she said that has helped her a lot.
"We actually have a lot of girls from all over," Jordan said. "That was kind of a nice experience, just to play with other players and get some new coaches."
Jordan said she also went to a camp at Shenandoah University last year that really helped her, and is going to a clinic this weekend at Shenandoah.
Jordan has scored nine goals on 30 shots for the Generals this year, and Hartwig said she's a good example for the rest of the team.
"I think this year she's sort of come into that role of, 'I'm going to take shots. I'm not going to be afraid of it,'" Hartwig said. "That's what I tell the other girls, don't be afraid to take shots. If they're there, just take them."
The Generals (3-6) have a very young squad, and started out 0-4 but have won three of their last five matches. Stonewall Jackson didn't score a goal until the fifth game of the season.
The team has four sophomores, two freshmen and five juniors, and Jordan said she believes the team can accomplish a lot this season.
"We definitely just need to have confidence, because I know that we can compete with the top of the district," Jordan said. "On the other hand we can't take anyone lightly, because I truly believe anybody can beat anybody on a given night. It just depends on who can put it all together."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd