2018 Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Stonewall Jackson’s Funkhouser finishes with record-breaking senior season
QUICKSBURG – LuLu Funkhouser’s first three years on the girls soccer team were strong, but her senior year topped them all.
The Stonewall Jackson senior forward set several school records as she scored 41 goals to help lead the Generals to a successful season.
Funkhouser said she owed her success to her teammates.
“I definitely couldn’t have done what I did without my teammates,” Funkhouser said. “I think our passing definitely helped us. Compared to my scoring last year, there’s definitely been a big change this year. What has changed? I have a great number of awesome teammates surrounding me.”
Last year the Generals almost didn’t have enough players to have a soccer team and struggled to win games. Funkhouser had a career-low 15 goals last season. This year, with the addition of a strong freshman class, she had a scoring surge and said much of it was due to having so much talent around her.
Funkhouser, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2018 Girls Soccer Player of the Year, said she scored so many goals that they were all a blur and she didn’t have a memorable one. Funkhouser said she didn’t even know that she had broken the career goals school record until later in the season because they had trouble locating the record books.
She started the season with 56 goals and 59 was the record. Funkhouser finished her career with 97.
“I’ve been wanting to do that since eighth grade,” Funkhouser said with a smile. “That’s all I wanted to accomplish in soccer. So I’m very proud.”
Funkhouser also set the single-season record for goals with her 41 this season. She said she really wanted to get to 100 for her career, but came up just a little short.
“At first I was disappointed,” Funkhouser said of not reaching 100. “Now looking back I’m like, that’s really good. And I’m like I hope someone beats (the record) and I can congratulate them when they do.”
Funkhouser said that scoring goals are her favorite part of the game. She said even though she’s scored a lot of them over the years, the feeling she gets when she does it is still the same.
“It’s just an adrenaline rush,” she said. “Then you’re like, I have to thank everyone. I have to thank whoever passed me the ball and the person who passed it to them. I couldn’t score by myself. It has to be a connection of plays.”
First-year Stonewall Jackson coach Ginny Dellinger said she had never coached Funkhouser before but was aware of how talented she was going into the season.
Dellinger said Funkhouser was a clutch player all season for the team and whenever the team needed a goal she knew that Funkhouser would deliver.
“She really impressed me early in the season with just her reliability,” Dellinger said. “She comes out 100 percent every game. You can always rely on her to show up and play tough and play well and perform and get the scores that you need. She’s a really reliable scorer. She just finds a way. She’s tenacious, very aggressive, very skilled. We’re really going to miss her next year. She’s got a good vision, and she is just all around is a great player.”
In two of the biggest games of the season for the Generals, Funkhouser delivered. She scored the team’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to Stuarts Draft in the Shenandoah District tournament final. In the Region 2B quarterfinals, Funkhouser scored twice to give the Generals a 2-0 lead in an eventual 4-2 season-ending loss to Madison County.
While Funkhouser has always been a strong scorer, she has had plenty of assists as well. She finished this season with nine assists and had 47 assists in her career.
“Without assists, there would be no goals and that’s one of the main parts of soccer,” Funkhouser said. “Like last year, I was more happy with my number of assists than I was with my goal scoring. It just meant more to the team.”
Funkhouser had plenty of help in the scoring department this season with freshman forward Kylene Franklin, who scored 26 goals and had 10 assists. Funkhouser also had help plenty of help from her best friend, senior midfielder J.J. Dellinger who had 10 goals and an-area best 22 assists.
“It helps to know where a player is all the time,” Funkhouser said of J.J. Dellinger. “And since we’ve played so much together, we always have those connections.”
After struggling to win games last season, the Generals went 16-4-1 and finished second in the Shenandoah District and were runners-up in the Shenandoah District tournament.
Funkhouser said she would have liked to have gone further as a team, but she was very pleased overall with the season the young squad had.
“I think at (the end of the season) we were just done,” Funkhouser said. “I think we were exhausted for the Madison (regional quarterfinal loss) match and I’m glad it ended how it did. It was a closer game than what I had thought it would be, and we didn’t have all of our players. So we weren’t as strong as we could have been.”