Female Athlete of the Week: Stonewall sophomore Funkhouser having another strong season
QUICKSBURG — Stonewall Jackson sophomore LuLu Funkhouser wasn’t sure how she would follow up on her strong freshman girls soccer season. So she decided to set a goal for herself and she’s already surpassed that.
Funkhouser said she wanted to score 20 goals, after having scored 17 as a freshman. As the regular season has come to a close, Funkhouser has 22 goals.
“I was like ‘maybe I’m not going to score as many goals,’ and I was like ‘well I’ll just set a goal and if I get it, I get it,'” Funkhouser said. “…It’s just a great accomplishment. It feels good.”
A chunk of Funkhouser’s goals came in one game last week against Buffalo Gap. Funkhouser scored four goals and had three assists in an 8-0 win over the Bison.
“It was a great game for me,” Funkhouser said. “I couldn’t have done without (my teammates).”
Funkhouser also had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 victory over East Rockingham last week.
Her solid week earned Funkhouser The Northern Virginia Daily Female Athlete of the Week for the week of May 9-15.
Funkhouser has been scoring goals and getting assists all season long for the Generals. She has had a goal or an assist in every game for the Generals this season.
When she’s not scoring, she’s setting up her teammates for shots. Funkhouser leads the area with 18 assists. She’s scored either a goal or an assist on 40 of Stonewall Jackson’s 50 goals this season.
“That is unbelievable,” Stonewall Jackson coach Hap Kwiatkowski said. “Usually a player is lopsided in goals or they’re lopsided in assists, but she’s almost even in that That’s unheard of, and she’s a very unselfish player. That’s really being unselfish. You have almost as may assists and plus with as many as that.”
She said she had two goals that stood out to her this season. One was on a penalty kick; she said the other happened in a 2-1 victory over Riverheads on Monday.
“I had a girl on my back and I had an upper 90 left corner,” Funkhouser said. “…I wasn’t expecting to make it. I thought it was going to be over and complete shock was on my face. I was like ‘oh my goodness I just made this.'”
She said her most memorable assist came on a goal by her best friend and teammate, J.J. Dellinger.
“I don’t remember what game it was, but we literally took it from about midfield and we passed to each other,” Funkhouser said. “Then she broke off and scored and that has to be my favorite.”
Funkhouser said she likes scoring and making assists. That’s the reason one of her favorite parts of the game is kicking corner kicks. Funkhouser has scored on a corner kick this year, and has also dished out assists on some as well, including one in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Luray.
“She’s consistent in getting them into the field of play, not behind, and always a low, hard, driven ball,” Kwiatkowski said. “So it’s not really lobbed high in the air. It’s a low driven ball, which you can head or people can get their foot on, which is pretty amazing for somebody to consistently get that every single time they’re kicking free kicks.”
Kwiatkowski said that the biggest improvement he’s seen in Funkhouser has been moving without the ball.
“Last year she used to stand at the midfield stripe and wait for the ball to get kicked and just sprint for it. It was like a direct play,” Funkhouser said. “She wasn’t used to coming back playing the feet, playing with the midfielders, the attacking mids with JJ and with Kelsey (Kokkonen). This year’s there’s been a vast improvement with her coming back and playing off the attacking mids.”
While Funkhouser said she was happy with how she’s performed she said she was even happier about how the team has performed.
The Generals finished in second place in the Shenandoah District and are 12-4 this season, after going 8-8-1 last year. The Generals play in the Conference 35 tournament next week.
“You always go into as season thinking ‘hey we’re going to do great this season’, but I just wasn’t expecting it. I’m so happy, and I just hope we do well continuing on,” Funkhouser said. “…I just want to win a conference game. Since we’re in (Group) 2A that’s going to be a challenge for us, but we can definitely do it.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org