Generals still have chance to win Shenandoah District title

LuLu Funkhouser

QUICKSBURG- Stonewall Jackson will be rooting for a couple of the other Shenandoah District teams over the next week.

The Generals’ girls soccer team has a chance to win the Shenandoah District regular season title if Stuarts Draft loses to either Luray or Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson is in second place, but the Generals’ regular season is over.

“We want it pretty bad, clearly,” Stonewall Jackson senior J.J. Dellinger said. “But second, first, – it’s nice to have a trophy, but in the end placing as high as we are is a good accomplishment.”

If the Generals win the Shenandoah District regular season title they would get an automatic region berth. If they don’t win the regular season title, they will have to earn a region berth by winning a match in the district tournament, which starts on May 21.

Stonewall Jackson concluded its regular season on Thursday with a convincing 7-1 victory over Robert E. Lee.

Kylene Franklin

The Lee Ladies beat the Generals, 3-2, on April 5, but it was a completely different story Thursday.

Stonewall Jackson senior LuLu Funkhouser said that losing the first game to Robert E. Lee helped the Generals for the second meeting.

“I don’t think we were used to their (Bermuda) grass and their style of play,” Funkhouser said of the first game. “And being on our home turf this time and understanding how they play definitely helped us.”

Stonewall Jackson coach Ginny Dellinger said Robert E. Lee had some speed on defense, and she told her team they would have to use smaller passes to work through the Robert E. Lee defense and that’s exactly what they did.

In the opening minute of the game, Funkhouser and freshman Kylene Franklin, who had three goals and two assists, moved the ball down the field with Franklin scoring a goal.

JJ Dellinger

“I knew that me and Lu (Funkhouser) had a great passing sequence going there,” Franklin said. “So I was really happy that we had that going and pushing it fast up the field and being able to move just in and out of their defense. And then when I had that opportunity, I just took it.”

Funkhouser had three goals and an assist, J.J. Dellinger had a goal and Virginia Biller had three assists in the victory.

Franklin, Funkhouser and J.J. Dellinger have worked well together all season. Franklin has 22 goals and 10 assists, while J.J. Dellinger leads the area with 19 assists and also has 10 goals. Funkhouser, the school’s all-time leading goal scorer, has 36 goals and nine assists this season. She is also close to achieving a big milestone – 100 career goals. Funkhouser enters postseason play with 92 goals.

“I’m not going to stop how I play, I’m still going to pass the ball off,” Funkhouser said of the possible milestone. “I think if I don’t rush it, it will come.”

The Generals (13-2-1) have a very young squad with six freshmen on the team. Stonewall Jackson’s entire defense is made up of freshmen.

“It’s exciting to see. This freshmen squad has absolutely stepped right up to the plate,” Ginny Dellinger said. “And it’s amazing to watch nothing but freshmen in the back, everyone from the keeper, the back line, the holding midfielder – they’re all freshmen. And they don’t let much get through.”

Stonewall Jackson lost by one goal to Stuarts Draft early in the season but played to a 1-1 tie in the rematch last week. Depending on what happens with Stuarts Draft in its final two games, the Generals will either be the No. 1 seed or the No. 2 seed in the district tournament.

The Generals  have more than a week off before postseason play begins, and Funkhouser said she believes the team is ready for a very good playoff run. She was part of the girls basketball team, which advanced to the Class 1 state semifinals earlier this year and said she feels like the soccer team can do the same.

“Our momentum is going,” she said. “Everything feels very similar, and that’s a good thing. I just hope we finish. We couldn’t finish the basketball season the way we wanted to, so let’s finish the soccer season the way we want it to.”