Sites’ aerial skills leading the way for Sherando girls

Audra Sites

STEPHENS CITY — There’s nothing Audra Sites likes more than going up in the air and heading a soccer ball.

The Sherando High School senior has a versatile game, but that ability in the air sets her apart from the rest and was on perfect display last week.

“Without a doubt, in the history of the program, I don’t think there’s been anyone ever better in the air,” Sherando coach Rob Kilmer said. “She’s fantastic in the air. … She’s unbelievable in the air. She’s got to be one of the tops in the area in the air. It’s just devastating for other teams. It’s fantastic for us, it’s bad for other teams.”

Last week, Sites capped off a hat trick against Skyline with a header off a corner kick from teammate Olivia Elliott.

“It was the perfect goal. It was the best ball I could ever ask for,” Sites said. “It was the perfect ball, so I was ready.”

Sites had a hat trick and two assists in the 8-0 win over Skyline to help earn her the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for March 23-29.

Sites said she’s always enjoyed heading the ball and it’s her favorite way to score a goal.

“I think I’m good at it,” Sites said. “I’m not afraid to head the ball like some people are. It doesn’t hurt, and I normally get quite a bit of power off of it. Whenever you do it right, it looks good. It feels good, too.”

Sites, who plays center-midfielder for the Warriors, is off to a strong start this season with four goals, including a game-winner against Turner Ashby in a 1-0 victory on March 21.

She followed that up with her game against Skyline. The Warriors were struggling offensively in the first half until a 35-minute lightning delay occurred. After the delay, Sites scored on a shot from about 18 feet away and the offense began to click.

Sites said this is the most goals she’s had to start a season, but she gives a lot of credit to her teammates.

“I think it’s our team chemistry, which really helps a lot. I’ve just been there with the balls,” Sites said of her scoring. “I’ve had opportunities, but we’ve all had opportunities to score. I guess I’ve just gotten luckier with being in front of the goal and they’ve gone in.”

While Sites said she likes scoring goals, she said she prefers making an assist to scoring a goal.

“I guess scoring is a big deal, because it’s the goal, but it’s also about how it gets there,” Sites said. “I think it’s a better feeling knowing that you got the ball there than to score.”

Sites, who said she also loves to play defense, has done plenty of scoring and assisting at Sherando. She has 27 career goals and 16 assists.

One of only four seniors on this year’s squad, Sites is part of a solid tandem for the Warriors along with fellow senior Erin Magalis. Last year, Magalis led the team with 11 goals.

Kilmer said the pair reminds him a lot of former Sherando standouts Nikki Rhodes and Brittini Dennis.

“It’s a term we took from Nikki Rhodes and Brittini Dennis is this monkey see, monkey do thing and they had it back in the day and [Sites and Magalis] are following in the same things,” Kilmer said. “Four years ago, Audra had the 800th goal in the program. Erin, the other night, got the 900th goal in the program. They’re like this little tandem team now. Audra went and got three goals the other night. Erin went and got two goals the other night. I’m calling it monkey see, monkey do No. 2. If they can create what Brittini Dennis and Nikki Rhodes had, that would be something special.”

Sites said that being a senior this year has made this a special year for her, and she wants to make sure that she does her best every game. Sherando is 3-1 on the season, and Sites said she really loves the team and thinks they can have a great season.

“We have 15, but we’re all really fundamentally sound players,” Sites said. “Everyone on the team will contribute and everyone knows their roles. We all work together really well. We have really good chemistry, and I don’t know how to describe it but it’s really good. I think we can go really far this year if we’re all playing our best and working together.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com