Brinkley, Generals shut out Eagles
QUICKSBURG – Reganne Brinkley didn’t see a lot of action in goal Wednesday, but the Stonewall junior goalkeeper is OK with that.
Brinkley and the Generals picked up their sixth shutout of the season as they beat East Rockingham, 2-0, in Shenandoah District girls soccer action.
“It can get a little boring, but I prefer a game where I don’t have many saves versus one where it’s just constantly coming at me,” Brinkley said.
Brinkley hasn’t had to make a lot of saves in the last two contests, only six combined, as the Generals put together back-to-back shutouts. They knocked off Buffalo Gap, 8-0, on Tuesday.
Stonewall Jackson coach Hap Kwiatkowski said he was very happy with the play of his defense on Wednesday. The Generals were without senior Brittany Singleton, so he moved Virginia Biller from defense to forward.
“Sue Garber last year played in the midfield for me. This year I put her back as one of the two center backs along with Kensey Wilk, and they’ve been doing a great job back there,” Kwiatkowski said. “Jessie Pechie is an outside back and has been doing well, and today Alondra Ortega filled in (for Biller) as the other outside back and did very well – kept them scoreless.”
The Generals (10-4) took command of the game early as Biller dribbled the ball near the goal, which drew East Rockingham goalie Brittany Hoy out of the box. Biller then sent a pass to LuLu Funkhouser who scored on a wide-open goal with about 34 minutes left in the first half.
Just eight minutes later, Stonewall Jackson’s J.J. Dellinger scored a goal to extend the lead to 2-0.
“I passed it in the middle and then Lu (Funkhouser) gave me a good through pass,” Dellinger said. “I dribbled a little bit and tried to send it in the corner, not at the goalie.”
That was all the Generals would need. The rest of the way they controlled possession and passed the ball around. They had a few scoring opportunities, but couldn’t make them.
It was the third game in three days for the Generals.
“You could tell everybody was a little worn down out there,” Dellinger said. “(Kwiatkowski) was telling us at halftime play more possession and just keep it back, I know you guys are tired. Just keep possession and just calm down and try not to waste energy.”
The Generals have been solid on both offense and defense this season. Stonewall Jackson has out-scored opponents 45-26 this season.
Brinkley said communication has played a key role in the success of the defense.
“I’m actually really proud of them, Brinkley said. “They’re working together. They’re listening to each other and they’re listening to me. They’re able to read the plays and pass the ball up to the offense. … I really appreciate the defense.”
The Generals have had a lot of success this season, and Kwiatkowski said that this year’s team is working together well.
“The team’s playing a lot better this year. Last year’s team wasn’t jelling like this team,” Kwiatkowski said. “We scored a lot of goals, but we weren’t working as a team. I think the girls didn’t work together as a team, and I think this year the team is working a lot better as a team.”
The Generals will be playing in Conference 35 in the postseason, as Group 1A and 2A are combined for girls soccer. The tournament starts on May 23.
Dellinger said that it’s been nice to have a stronger record this season.
“We have a winning record. We didn’t have one last year,” Dellinger said. “You know winning records, we don’t get those here very much. So it’s nice to have a winning record, and have that pride and be proud of what we did.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org