By Jim Laise - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- On the first day in the history of the school, in one of the first athletic events ever, brand-new Legacy Christian Academy of Stephens City tied Mountain View Christian Academy 2-2 in boys soccer.
The two schools' junior varsity and volleyball varsity and jayvees also met Tuesday.
Legacy Christian, coached by longtime Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy head man Ron Combs, is so new, the more than 100 students have yet to move into their new home in the ex-Bon Air senior citizens facility on Valley Pike.
Instead, the students attended classes in three different church locations until final construction needs are met. Therefore, Combs had to pick up members of his 10-man team at different locations on the way to the 4 p.m. kickoff.
On top of that, Combs was surprised when his manufacturer presented him with volleyball uniforms on opening day rather than soccer togs. The coach made a special trip to Strasburg to pick up the new suits. Perhaps most important, he was helping to open the school for the first time.
After all that, the match may have seemed secondary to Combs and his brood, though he seemed happy with the result.
"Of course we'd like to have the win, but we'll take the tie. I asked them afterward what was the biggest thing they learned today and it was that they had to be in better shape," Combs said. "Now they know why we run them."
In fact, Legacy has no soccer field of its own. It has been using a facility in Kernstown near the site of its first match.
All that will come in good time. For now, the coach was happy to field a team. He started the day with 14 members of what is a co-ed squad (Legacy sports no girls group), but three decided not to suit up "after I had a little talk with them about commitment," Combs said with a smile.
To stretch the situation further, one of his players was red-carded early -- an automatic ejection -- and another turned an ankle. So, he was working with nine varsity members.
Because of the numbers, Mountain View and Legacy Christian officials decided beforehand to play the game with nine players on each side rather than the usual 11.
Mountain View Christian Academy faced long odds in its first match of the season, too.
New coach Don Thracker worked with just three players through most of the summer preseason until several international members showed up on the first day last week.
"Because of that, we weren't able to practice as much as we'd like," Thracker said.
The lack of workouts seemed to affect Tuesday's first half, which ended without a score.
In the second half, both teams went to work.
Anais Williams of Legacy turned an ankle and she was taken off the pitch. Almost simultaneously, Saints teammate Luke Smith scored the first of his two goals to put the visitors up 1-0.
It was Smith who again tallied off a breakaway to give the Saints a 2-0 lead on the 90-degree afternoon.
No scoreboard clock was available.
But Mountain View kept playing. Within 30 seconds, Matthew Coughlin scored back-to-back goals from the left wing to knot things at 2-all, the final result.
"I think we just ran out of gas there at the end. We worked hard to go up 2-0 and I think our legs got tired after that," Combs said.
Legacy enjoyed five shots on goal to Mountain View's one in the first half. Conquerors goalie Matt Jolin stopped two shots.
In the second half, Legacy attempted six shots on goal to four for Mountain View. Jolin had two stops in the second period, compared to the same number for Legacy Christian goalie Brandon Mason.
"It took us a half to jell, but after that I thought we played fine," Thracker said.