Generals stung by Green Hornets
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson’s boys soccer team had a short-handed squad due to injuries Monday night, but the Generals still managed to hang tough with Wilson Memorial for a half.
The Green Hornets took control of the game in the second half en route to an 8-0 Shenandoah District victory over the Generals. The game was halted with about 15 minutes left due to the mercy rule.
“We got a lot of games this week, and we didn’t want to get out of here with an 8-0 loss. But at the same time if we can rest up for a couple of those other games that’s what will do,” Stonewall Jackson coach Caleb Golladay said.
The Generals (3-9) only had 13 players available for the game, with several players out due to injury.
“We’re very lean on numbers,” Golladay said. “We don’t have a lot of a bench. So we’re just getting to that point in the season where we’re getting a little thin. Everybody’s got to play more minutes. So that always is a factor on everybody — a lot more of tired legs out there. It’s rough for everybody, but at the same time it’s something they have to cope with.”
The Generals were hanging tough for the first 20 minutes. The Green Hornets dominated play, but couldn’t score on Stonewall Jackson’s defense, led by goalkeeper Blake McCourt.
Golladay said that McCourt was one of the real bright spots in the loss.
“He’s doing well. He’s getting a lot better,” Golladay said of McCourt. “He dove and got a lot of balls. … He’s one that’s definitely played a whole lot better.”
The Green Hornets (9-3) missed on their first 10 shot attempts, but scored with about 20 minutes left in the first half on their 11th attempt. Wilson Memorial’s Parker Robson scored to put the Green Hornets up 1-0.
Five minutes later, on their next shot attempt, Wilson Memorial’s Nick Racine scored to extend the lead to 2-0.
Wilson Memorial’s Logan Leche made it 3-0 at the half with another goal.
Despite the lead, Wilson Memorial coach Brad Wygant said that he and the coaching staff made some notes at the half and it paid dividends in the second half.
“It was just a few simple things,” Wygant said of the notes. “The main thing was communication. We had opportunities in the first half that we didn’t take advantage of, and we definitely think it was due to a lack of communication. The guys took that to heart and improved on it in the second half.”
Robson scored again in the first minute of the second half. Just two minutes later, McCourt deflected a shot, but the ball went right to Wilson Memorial’s Francisco Rivas Ruiz, who put it past McCourt for a 5-0 lead.
Wilson Memorial’s William Abruzzese and Chris Kibler each scored to extend the lead to 7-0 with 27 minutes left in the game. It stayed that way until Leche scored his second goal of the night with about 15 minutes left to end the game.
“We preach effort, and the guys even though we have a long week — we got four games this week — they came out hard,” Wygant said. “They understand that hustle and effort can win games when skill isn’t always there, when touch isn’t always there.”
Wygant said that the Green Hornets play Riverheads today, and the players understand how important that game is and to take it one match at a time.
“We lost to them 3-1 last time. We had our opportunities, and we didn’t capitalize much like we did in the first half of this game,” Wygant said. “So we need a couple things. We need to continue what we did in the second half here and just battle, go to war and that’s what this is. I think these guys are taking it to heart. They realize that this is the last time these seniors get to play Riverheads. There’s no way we see them in the postseason so they’re going to be excited and show up (today).”
Golladay said that he’s seen a lot of improvement from his young squad this season. The Generals started four freshmen and one sophomore against the Green Hornets.
The Generals play in Conference 44 in the postseason, which has only five teams. Golladay said that right now the Generals are in second place, so he’s working to get the team ready for the postseason and a potential home playoff game. He said consistency and better communication would help the team a lot down the stretch of the season.
“At this point that’s really all were looking for just getting a little bit of consistency, a little bit of just being more of a team together and just moving the ball, talking to each other,” Golladay said. “That’s what we want and that’s what we need at this point in the season — just to kind of give us an edge going into postseason.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com