Generals girls topple Riverheads

QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson’s girls soccer team started off a little slow this season, but the Generals have turned things around.

The Generals knocked off Riverheads, 2-0, Tuesday in Shenandoah District girls soccer action. It was Stonewall Jackson’s fourth win in a row.

“We’re just working together better, communicating,” Stonewall Jackson sophomore J.J. Dellinger said. “… We’re passing a lot more. At the beginning, we weren’t clicking but now we’re starting to click and pass and we’re doing give and go balls, and it’s just gone a lot smoother.”

The Generals were 2-2 to start the season, and Stonewall Jackson coach Hap Kwiatkowski said that the team was missing a few players for the first few games, which hurt the team a little bit.

Since then they’ve been on a roll. A big part of that has been the play of the defense.

Riverhead's Bess Wood and Stonewall's Casey Gibson position for a kick during first half soccer action Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“It’s taken a little bit to get everyone used to playing together, and I think it’s finally clicking with us,” Stonewall Jackson goalkeeper Reganne Brinkley said.

The Generals (6-2) have several new players on defense. Dellinger played on defense last year, but has moved up to midfield this season.

She said she enjoys playing in the midfield.

“It’s a lot more fun,” Dellinger said of playing midfield. “I didn’t mind defense. The position I play on my travel team is mid, so he got to bump me up this year. It’s a lot more exciting, and I just like that position better.”

“I knew her natural spot, because she has good field vision, was in the midfield as an attacking midfielder,” Kwiatowski said. “She’s come through for some goals for us in games, and she’s come through with some assists for us.”

Stonewall's Kelsey Kokkonen dribbles down the field between Riverheads defenders during Tuesday's soccer game in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Dellinger put the Generals on top 1-0 on a goal with 25 minutes left in the first half. She scored on an assist from LuLu Funkhouser.

“It was a good combination of passes leading up to the ball,” Dellinger said. “(Funkhouser) did a nice cross in, played a through ball, and I just finished.”

The Dellinger and Funkhouser combination has been a strong one all season for the Generals. The two sophomores are best friends and said their friendship helps them on the pitch.

“We play travel (soccer) together. We’re best friends,” Funkhouser said. “We practically do everything together — we go on vacations together. So everything carries on over to the soccer field. It helps us a bunch.”

Funkhouser scored on an assist from Brittany Singleton with 24 minutes left in the game to put the Generals up 2-0. Funkhouser made a move around a defender and scored on a shot from just inside the box.

Riverheads' Bailey Reed kicks over Stonewall's Brittany Singleton during the first half of Tuesday night's game in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Funkhouser, who leads the area in assists this year, said she enjoys giving assists as much as scoring.

“I think assists are way more important than goals, because if you don’t have an assist you’re not going to have a goal,” Funkhouser said.

The Generals lost five starters from last year’s team, but the new players have adjusted well. Kwiatkowski said that seniors Singleton and Kelsey Kokkonen have done a great job bringing the team together.

The players have high hopes for what they can accomplish this season.

“I think we’re ready to move onto the next game. I’m ready for the next part of the season and I think we can go pretty far,” Funkhouser said. “… (A winning record) feels great, but we just got to keep going and keep practicing strong. We can’t let it get to our heads.”

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

Riverheads' Bess Wood, left, and Stonewall's Kelsey Kokkonen battle for possession during first half soccer action Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Riverheads' Bess Wood, left, and Stonewall's Kelsey Kokkonen battle for possession during first half soccer action Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall's Brittany Singleton protects her postion as Riverheads' Holly Fultz defends during first half soccer action in Quicksburg Tuesday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

Riverheads' Bailey Reed, left, and Stonewall's Jessica Pechie collide during Tuesday's game in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily