Stonewall’s Gibson ready for successful season at new position

Stonewall's Casey Gibson, left, and Riverheads' Lilah Russell, right, collide in a game earlier this season. Gibson's move to more of an attacking position could lead to a big season for the junior. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG – Casey Gibson has changed positions this season, and the move should benefit Stonewall Jackson.

The Stonewall Jackson junior girls soccer player moved from a holding midfielder to an attacking midfielder, and she said she thinks her new spot is her best one.

“I’m more in the attacking aspect of the play,” Gibson said. “So it’s nice to get up the field and have opportunities to score and get a couple more opportunities to get an assist and to be able to play the ball easier from different positions.”

First-year Stonewall Jackson coach Ginny Dellinger said that she wanted to play Gibson at a spot that best suited her talents and she feels like attacking midfielder is the perfect spot for Gibson.

“She has got this cannon of a foot, and I’ve always wanted to move it up there in a threat position,” Dellinger said. “She played holding-mid primarily last year. And holding-mid is crucial to the field, but it doesn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities. They just don’t travel up the field that far. So for her to be able to move up the field just one level is really opening doors for her.”

Gibson already has several goals and assists on the team this season. She said that she loves scoring goals, but she enjoys getting assists just as much.

The three-year starter said she also loves to pass the ball around with her best friend, Virginia Biller. The two have been playing together for four years and know each other’s game. Biller plays at an outside midfielder position, right beside of Gibson.

“I love just getting the ball, stopping it and she knows exactly when to go,” Gibson said. “And I just send it right through to her. We read each other really well, and we’re really good at connecting the ball, whether it’s square or diagonal with each other and we just understand each other.”

Gibson has also had a very familiar face right behind her playing on defense this season – her sister Morgan.

“She’s two years younger than me,” Casey Gibson said. “We’ve never played on a team together – this is our first time. But we love playing together. We just understand each other.”

Casey Gibson said she’s been playing soccer since she was 4 or 5 years old, and has also played on travel teams since she was 10.

She said her travel team is Shenandoah Valley United, based out of Harrisonburg, and that playing travel soccer has been a big help to her game.

Gibson said that her freshman year was a good learning experience, but last year as a whole was a tough one for the entire team. The Generals had only 13 players and struggled to win games.

“It was hard,” Gibson said. “It was a lot of transitioning between losing five or six seniors the year before. So it was a lot of being put in positions that I didn’t really knew a lot about.”

The Generals have six freshmen on the squad this season, which has helped the team.

Dellinger said that having so much talent at so many positions will be a big help to Gibson.

“I’m not sure she’s ever had the right people around her before,” Dellinger said. “She’s now got a cast of characters around her that she can work with. In the past they would have maybe three or four maybe five really solid players on the team a lot of times, and that limits your ability as to where you can play the ball successfully. So now that she has this cast of characters around her I think she’s going to really shine. I look at this as Casey’s breakout year.”

The Generals are off to a 4-2 start this season, with both losses coming by one goal.

Gibson said that her biggest goal for the team is just to keep getting better and to finish with a good record.

“I’d really like it if we can get a good winning record,” she said. “I know Stonewall soccer hasn’t had a huge number of winning records in the past. I think it would be really cool if we got one at the higher end maybe the (best) record (of all-time). I think it would be a really big accomplishment.”

The Generals have four seniors, led by LuLu Funkhouser and J.J. Dellinger, but Ginny Dellinger said that she also wants Gibson and Biller to take on leadership roles as well. Ginny Dellinger said that she has them lead the team in stretches and is trying to prepare them for next year.

“Casey is a girl who’s been waiting for her moment to shine,” Ginny Dellinger said. “She’s wanting to be a leader, and she’s wanting to step into that role. She’s finally in a position where she can do that with these kids, and the kids have a ton of respect for her.”

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