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Warriors advance into district semis

By Robert Edmonds – sports@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL — The Northwestern District girls soccer tournament got under way Thursday night when Skyline hosted Sherando in the play-in game.

Each team gave an all-out effort in hopes of continuing their season, holding their opponents scoreless for much of the game. Finally with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation the Warriors lit the scoreboard en route to a 2-0 victory over the Hawks.

“They did a good job on us all night,” Warriors coach Rob Kilmer said. “We were hoping if we stayed with it that things would finally come around. It was a good win, and now we are equal with everyone and we have to focus on our next opponent.”

From the opening of the game, Sherando was on the offensive, firing away at every opportunity that presented itself. Skyline keeper Kayla Williams, was up to the challenge.
Less than two minutes into the game, Mandy Fogarty sent a bullet toward the net, but a diving stop by Williams negated a score. Moments later, Williams again made a stop on a Fogarty shot and when the keeper came out to stop a Sherando attack, Audra Sites missed an open opportunity to score in front of the net.

With the Warriors offense attacking often, Skyline was limited on opportunities to score, but made every effort to take quality shots when they were available.

After battling to a 0-0 tie in the first half, the Hawks found their best chances to score in the second half. Courtney Holloway made a move to goal and sent a shot to the left side that was stopped with a diving effort from Warriors keeper Maribeth Watkins.

Moments later, a streaking Quinn Breeden just missed wide right of the net keeping the game scoreless.

“Our defense played very well tonight,” Kilmer said. “I have to give kudos to our team defense and a really great job by Morgan Sirbaugh in the backfield directing traffic and leading the way.”

With time winding down, a sense of urgency started to kick in for both teams and the continued efforts from the Warriors offense finally paid dividends with time winding down.
After a throw-in from the sideline, Sherando swarmed the Skyline goal. A pair of shots on goal were stopped by Williams before Marie Curtis connected off a rebound at the 8:40 mark to score and give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage.

“I saw the play developing in front of the net, and I just stayed back in case the ball came out,” Curtis said. “When it came out I just tried to get a good shot and it went in.”

Sherando added another goal during penalty time when Katelyn Tuck went after a loose ball close to the Hawks’ net and spun right. Surprised to see the open goal, Tuck quickly took a shot that rolled into goal to set the final score and solidify the Warriors victory.

With the loss, Skyline closes its season with pride, knowing they gave their all this season, even in defeat. Williams recorded 21 saves on the night in her last career performance at Skyline which may also been one of her best.

“This was a good game,” Hawks coach John Moore said. “Our whole team stepped up and did what they had to do. We did well except on two shots. That’s the game of soccer, but I give a lot of credit to Kayla Williams. She definitely had one of her best games tonight.”

While one teams’ season is over, Sherando looks forward to moving on to play Millbrook on Saturday in the district tournament semifinals at Skyline at 1 p.m.

“It was definitely a relief after losing against them the last time,” said Tuck. “Our whole team kept working and it gives us some momentum moving forward. We just need to stay focused as a team, so we can keep our season going.”