Athlete of the Week: Stonewall Jackson’s Funkhouser adjusting well to different role

LuLu Funkhouser Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG — With several new inexperienced players joining Stonewall Jackson’s girls soccer team, it has been a different kind of season for the Generals. One thing that hasn’t changed is LuLu Funkhouser is still leading the way.

The Stonewall Jackson junior has had a little bit of a different role for the team, as one of the main leaders, but she said she’s enjoying it.

“I’m always joking with (Stonewall Jackson coach) Hap (Kwiatkowski) I feel like an assistant coach,” Funkhouser said. “Because instead of passing with J (J.J. Dellinger), I pass with someone less experienced so I can teach them things.”

Kwiatkowski said that Funkhouser has done a great job working with some of the young and inexperienced players. He said there are three players on the team that had never played soccer before and Funkhouser is a great leader for them.

Funkhouser, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of April 10-16, is still scoring goals and getting assists for her team like usual. She had five goals and two assists in two games last week.

Entering this week, Funkhouser had 10 of her team’s 18 goals.

The Generals won two games last week, 2-1 over East Rockingham and 8-2 over Buffalo Gap.

Funkhouser said she was really happy with how some of the inexperienced players, which includes three freshman, have been stepping up.

“We had some players that never played before,” Funkhouser said. “They’re finally stepping up to their roles and they kind of understand the game more. So it helped us out a lot.”

The Generals scored 10 goals in last week’s two games, after only scoring eight goals in their first five matches of the season.

Kwiatkowski said he switched the offense from a 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3, which allowed them to be able to score more.

“It allows us to get more offensive pressure up there,” Kwiatkowski said. “The girls understood it very well. We got the ball more up to Lu.”

Even though Funkhouser scored five goals last week, she said the highlight for her was a play in which a goal wasn’t even scored.

Funkhouser said she hit a corner kick to Dellinger, who just missed heading it in for a goal.

While she scores a lot of goals for her team — she had 24 last year — Funkhouser said she enjoys seeing her teammates score just as much as scoring.

“I want to get more girls scoring,” Funkhouser said. “I don’t just want to be the one scoring. I want to pass it to someone else and I want them to have a beautiful goal. I think assists are even better (than scoring) sometimes. You can contribute to a goal without even doing it. I think that that’s one of my favorite parts of the game.”

Funkhouser wasn’t even sure she would have a team to play on at the start of the season. Before preseason practice started there was a possibility the Generals wouldn’t have enough players to field a team.

The Generals were able to get 14 players out for the team, just enough to have a season.

“It was are we going to tryout for the boys team? Are we going to run track? What are we going to do?” Funkhouser said of the preseason. “It was kind of scary.”

The team started off slow, with a 1-4 start, but has now won two of its last three games. Funkhouser said she feels confident that the team will be playing its best soccer at the end of the season.

“I’m excited for the growth we’re showing,” Funkhouser said. “By the end of the season we should be good, but right now it’s still a little iffy some games. But you know what, we try hard in practice and that’s all we can do.”

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