By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy's girls soccer team pulled off a first this weekend. The Patriots won the Virginia Association of Christian Athletics state title, giving them a sweep of the VACA and National Association of Christian Athletics for the first time in school history. SVCA won the NACA title last weekend.
In the VACA final the Patriots had to face rival Fresta Valley, and pulled out a 1-0 win on Saturday in Martinsville.
"This team has come a long way from the beginning of the year," SVCA coach Dustin Wheelock said in a phone interview Sunday. "The team has has stuck with it, and been very dedicated in playing the way we like to play, which is passing, possessing the ball and moving the ball around."
It was the third meeting this season between Fresta Valley and SVCA. The Patriots won 3-2 in the first meeting, and tied 2-2 the last time they played.
Wheelock said he felt that put some added pressure on his team.
"I think [Fresta Valley] could have the mindset of having nothing to lose," Wheelock said. "I think our girls did a good job. They pulled together. The defense did an excellent job."
Wheelock said that Krsten Hotek was marked up on Fresta Valley's top scorer, and Nikki Taylor was marked up on Fresta Valley's other top striker and both did a great job.
The team were scoreless until Hannah McGann sent a pass to Megan Norton, who beat her defender and then the goalie with eight minutes left for a 1-0 lead.
"Megan was one-on-one with their sweeper and beat her off the dribble, which left her one-on-one with the goalie and she put it past her," Wheelock said.
The Patriots (19-4-3) beat Roanoke Valley 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday in Roanoke. The game was supposed to be played Tuesday at SVCA but was rained out and moved to Roanoke.
SVCA trailed 1-0 at the half in that match, but responded with three goals. Annie Runion, an eighth grader, scored two minutes into the second half. Just five minutes later, Norton scored on an assist from McGann to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead. McGann finished the scoring with a goal on an assist from Krista Freemire with six minutes left in the match. The Patriots outshot Roanoke, 21-5.
In the semifinals on Friday in Martinsville, the Patriots beat New Covenant, 4-0. Norton scored a goal at the 15-minute mark and at the 20-minute mark of the first half. The second goal came on an assist from McGann. The score stayed 2-0 at the half, but 13 minutes into the second half Grace Snyder scored on an assist from Norton. McGann added a goal on a penalty kick in the final minute of the match. The Patriots outshot New Covenant, 15-5.
In the final, SVCA outshot Fresta Valley, 15-10.
Norton was named MVP of the tournament, and was joined on the All-Tournament team by Abi Beaty, McGann, Hotek and Snyder.
"This means a lot," Wheelock said. "We only have two seniors on the team, so we have a lot of great talent coming back. Their dedication and hard throughout the season really paid off."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd