Skyline’s girls soccer team tops Wildcats for first district win since 2012

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline’s girls soccer team needed a victory, something the Hawks had achieved just once through their first 11 games of 2018. They got one against their cross-town rival on Thursday night, and in doing so ended a skid that was six years in the making.

Skyline’s 3-0 victory over Warren County marked not only the Hawks’ first win since an identical triumph over Strasburg on April 5, but the program’s first district victory since Skyline edged out Sherando back in 2012. The Northwestern District expanded from five teams to a two-classification, 13-team super-district prior to the start of this school year.

“They’ve been working so hard and I’ve felt like the scores have just not reflected how hard they’ve been working,” Hawks head coach Kristy Beaune said moments after the victory. “Today it reflected the good job that they’re doing.

“They started working as a team, in all honesty. I mean we’ve had bits and pieces. Some have been working together and some have been in different groups, but tonight they all worked together, which I think made the biggest difference.”

Skyline (2-7-3, 1-3-2 against Class 3 district competition) is filled with youth this spring, and freshmen and sophomores made up 65 percent of the team’s roster on Thursday night. Several of those young players made their marks against Warren County.

Sophomore Jenna Stanley put the Hawks on the board with a key goal late in the first half. Freshman Kaitlin Cramer, in her first game back from a quadriceps injury she suffered last week, scored twice in the second half. Laura Brown, another freshman, posted a shutout in goal while recording seven saves.

“I think they’re big moments because they need to know we brought them on varsity because they are talented enough,” Beaune said. “Sometimes they don’t feel like that, like they think because they’re younger they’re just not quite there. This kind of gives them the confidence that ‘yeah, we’re here for a reason.’ I’m pretty proud of them.”

The Hawks entered the  matchup having scored just one goal over their last two matches, and they went the first 27 minutes against the Wildcats without a shot attempt before Stanley seized momentum for her squad. She floated a shot over the head of goalkeeper Hannah Pack for the go-ahead score with seven minutes left in the first half.

“She had a phenomenal game marking up on (Warren County senior Shauna Sayers) like she did and then to go out there and score,” Beaune said of Stanley. “We’ve been working on shooting, just not thinking about it, and that was one of those, she just took the shot.”

Skyline had a comfortable three-goal lead by the midway point of the second half after Cramer struck for two goals in an eight-minute span.

Cramer’s first came after Abigail Brant’s pass trickled untouched across the box, setting up Cramer’s one-on-one chance against Pack 10 minutes into the second half. A hustle play ended with a second goal when Cramer raced to pluck the ball off the end line following from Pack’s diving save, allowing the Skyline freshman a shot on an open goal with 22 minutes left.

“In all honesty, Kaitlin was one of those that when she first came up to varsity at the beginning of the season she was kind of timid. But she’s coming into her own and now she’s got this just, ‘I want to go out there and take them on,'” Beaune said. “She’s definitely doing very well. We were hurting without her earlier this week but she stepped up today to bring it.”

For Warren County (2-8, 1-3 district), Thursday’s loss marked the latest match in which the Wildcats have struggled to generate offense. It was their fifth shutout loss in the last six matches, the lone outlier a 5-0 win over Manassas Park at home on Tuesday.

The Wildcats have introduced a new possession-based playing style under first-year head coach Erly Moya. They outshot Skyline 15-8 but missed out on several scoring chances, including two quality looks at the net in the first five minutes of the second half.

“I tell them to have faith in the system, what we’re doing, the idea of keeping the ball and moving up with it and finishing,” Moya said. “I think my girls are doing really good. They all move the ball from the back all the way to the top. I was hoping that by the second half (of the season) we were going to start scoring but it looks like it’s gonna take a little bit longer.”