By Jeff Nations
FRONT ROYAL -- For the opening 20 minutes or so, host Warren County High School's girls soccer team played with the listlessness and lack of energy you might expect from a team that had played less than 24 hours before.
Central midfielder Jennifer Philpott got their attention with the game's first goal, and from then on the Wildcats dominated on the way to a 5-1 Bull Run District victory.
Senior forward Kelsea Potts did much of the damage for the Wildcats, notching a hat trick with three goals to lead the offense.
"I think that their goal kind of woke us up a little bit," Potts said. "We haven't gone into many games down, so it got us frustrated and we got it back. Maybe we were a little tired and still in a rut from last night's game, but that definitely woke us up and we started playing like we usually do."
Central (0-9 overall and district) had the majority of the pressure early, and broke through with 17:40 left to go in the first half when Philpott sent a perfect rising shot from the left side of the penalty area that found the upper right corner of the net.
Potts had an answer just more than two minutes later, dashing through the penalty box for a running shot past Falcons goalkeeper Vanessa Wheeler that tucked into the lower right corner.
Warren County (6-2 overall and district) struck again with 9:44 to go in the half, as Potts gathered in a pinpoint pass from teammate Courtney L'Amoreaux that zipped right through the penalty area to create a deadly chance. Potts, who has 19 goals this season, did what she's done so often -- finished with a shot into the lower left corner of the net.
"We played well the first 25 minutes, I thought," Central coach Hap Kwiatkowski said. "We allowed them to get back in it."
The Wildcats put one more goal on the scoreboard right before the break, when Anne Skube put on a stellar display of ball-handling to shake two defenders before spinning at the top of the penalty box and punching a goal past Wheeler.
"Even though today it took a while to get going, they worked well together," Wildcats coach Michael Carpenter said. "And I think they feel comfortable playing with each other, and they trust each other on the field."
Warren County kept up the pressure in the second half, and six minutes into that period got another goal from sophomore Savanah Falls, who hit a long riser that started out as a pass into the box and instead turned into a goal.
"I've never scored in high school from that, but when I played rec I made a couple," Falls said. "But other than that, that's the longest shot I've made."
Potts got her hat trick with 17:27 to go, when Skube fed her a pass on the left side of the penalty box to set up a rising shot that sailed into the net.
Despite the loss, Kwiatkowski remains encouraged by his team's attitude this season.
"The girls are 100 percent into it and they have never given up," Kwiatkowski said. "The girls are still giving 150 percent. I'm so happy that these girls have not given up on the varsity."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>