Madison County rallies past Generals
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson’s girls soccer team seemed in control for the first 20 minutes of Monday’s Conference 35 tournament quarterfinal match. Visiting Madison County took over the final hour of game time.
Fourth-seeded Stonewall jumped out to an early two-goal lead, but the No. 5 Mountaineers rallied behind five second-half goals – including three by sophomore Morgan McClelland – to upend the Generals for a 6-3 win.
Madison County’s victory ended the Generals’ season while sending the Mountaineers on to a 5 p.m. semifinal matchup with top seed George Mason on Tuesday.
“The intensity level was really high at the beginning and then we just kind of decreased,” said Stonewall sophomore LuLu Funkhouser, who scored two goals in the loss. “I don’t know, we just kind of fell apart in the middle and then the back – everywhere.”
Though Madison (7-9-1) consistently fired shots from the opening kickoff, Stonewall (12-5) withstood the early shooting barrage and emerged with a two-goal lead midway through the first half. Funkhouser got the scoring started when she tracked down Jessie Pechie’s chip pass to the top of the penalty box and converted on a 12-yard shot just four minutes in, and teammate J.J. Dellinger made it 2-0 when her 15-yard shot following Virginia Biller’s throw-in hit Mountaineers goalkeeper Amanda Jasper in the chest before squirting out of her arms and trickling across the goal line in the 20th minute.
“I was pretty confident, and I feel like everybody else was,” Funkhouser said of the lead. “And I think we let it get to our head. We just couldn’t handle it, I guess.”
The Mountaineers, who came up empty on seven shots in the first 14 minutes, countered Stonewall’s second goal two minutes later when Leigh Lumsden – who burned Stonewall with her speed and passing ability from the wing on multiple occasions – sent a soaring cross pass through the box that found Amelia Graves on the far post for a short goal.
Madison County coach Bruce Parker said it was Graves’ first goal this season.
“That was huge,” Parker said. “You’ve gotta get something. You’ve gotta get going. That was monstrous.”
Madison County wouldn’t score for the rest of the first half despite out-shooting the Generals 13-6, but the Mountaineers needed less than two minutes in the second half to tie the match when Makenna Santinga scored the first of her two goals off a Mackenzie Morris assist.
The Generals regained a 3-2 lead five minutes later when Dellinger’s through ball got past a Madison defender to set up a breakaway chance for Funkhouser, who converted her shot from the top of the box, but the advantage lasted all of 26 seconds. McClelland scored the first of her three goals off another cross from Lumsden on the wing to tie the match at 3-all.
“That’s almost draining,” Generals head coach Hap Kwiatkowski said of Madison County’s quick answer. “It drains you as a player. You watch your team work so hard – and even as a coach you watch them work so hard to get that ball, get it in the net and all the sudden the other team comes back in 30 seconds and ties it up.”
McClelland would score two more times over the next 10 minutes, both goals coming as she followed a pair of saves by Stonewall keeper Reganne Brinkley (eight saves) in a 73-second span to give the Mountaineers a 5-3 lead.
“It looked like we got rubber legs. It looked like they were dead,” Kwiatkowski said.
Madison County scored the game’s final goal with 10 minutes remaining on Santinga’s shot from the top of the penalty box off a McClelland assist.
The Mountaineers enjoyed a 29-13 advantage in shots in the victory.
“I think we just stayed patient,” Parker said. “We were controlling the play pretty much and it was just a matter of finding the right pass. We got a little impatient – at the beginning of the game we were taking those long shots and we needed to take it to the goal.”
In each half, Stonewall mustered just two shots over the final 20 minutes as Madison County dominated possession.
“I just don’t think we could get it up the field,” Funkhouser said. “We were just having trouble getting the ball and then we just couldn’t control it when we got it.”
Despite the early playoff exit for Stonewall – a Conference 44 member school that was included in the Conference 35 tournament due to the combination of the VHSL Group 1A and 2A girls soccer tournaments – Kwiatkowski said he was pleased with the season.
“This group exceeded my expectations in the (Shenandoah District), going 11-3 and playing well as a team,” said Kwiatkowski, who will lose seniors Kelsey Kokkonen, Brittany Singleton and Kinsey Wilk to graduation. “This team actually played as a team. Last year’s team did not play as a team, a lot of drama going on, and these girls really played for each other. It was amazing what you can accomplish. And we really didn’t have that many superstars on the team. They had a good supporting cast.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org