Big changes were announced to the Virginia High School League schedule Thursday afternoon.
Skyline and Warren County’s softball Class 3 state semifinal games in Salem were postponed due to predicted rain to 9 a.m., June 13 at the Moyer Complex in Salem. The finals will be played at 9 a.m. on June 14. Skyline (18-6) will play Turner Ashby (22-4). Warren County (21-2) will play Liberty-Bedford (20-6).
Stonewall Jackson’s girls soccer team will play at 11 a.m. today at Radford University’s recreational fields. The field is a turf field, so the weather shouldn’t affect field conditions. The final will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday at Radford University’s recreational fields.
The Generals play Eastern Montgomery in the semifinals. Rappahannock County plays Auburn in the other semifinal.
Stonewall Jackson girls soccer coach Ginny Dellinger said that she doesn’t know anything about Eastern Montgomery. She said she is expecting the state semifinal game to be much like Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over Northumberland in the state quarterfinals.
“I think (Northumberland) is fairly equal with some of the teams that we’re going to play,” Dellinger said. “So I’m hopeful, that this is going to be indicative of what we’re going to be able to do. But we’re going to continue to put forth the best team we can and do the best drills (in practice) that we can.”
Eli Dellinger said she’s looking forward to the whole state experience.
“I’m ecstatic. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Eli Dellinger said. “I’m really excited to go with this team. We’re going to Radford, so that will be a really cool experience, considering the furthest we’ve gone is like Stuarts Draft. I think it will be a fun bus ride up there. And hopefully we’ll get to stay up there another day.”
Sophomore Julia Biller said it’s special going with this soccer team because of how close everyone is on the squad.
“I’m so excited, especially with this team, because I’m close-knit with all of them,” Biller said. “I think we are playing our best soccer at the best possible time.”
The Generals (18-4) will look for more strong performances from sophomores Eli Dellinger and Kylene Franklin. The dynamic duo combined for three goals and two assists in the state quarterfinal win. For the season, Franklin has an area-best 37 goals and nine assists and Eli Dellinger has an area-best 33 assists and 18 goals.
While Eli Dellinger and Franklin have had a strong connection with each other on the field for many years, Franklin said the connection with the whole team is also strong.
“Our connection between the whole team — it’s just there,” Franklin said. “Everybody’s able to make those kind of passes with one another. I just love having that with our team.”
Stonewall Jackson has won eight games in a row. Franklin said that when the Generals beat Wilson Memorial and Stuarts Draft in the Shenandoah District tournament that boosted the team’s confidence.
“When we came in and we played our hearts out at Wilson (Memorial) and we ended up beating them we got so much energy inside of us,” Franklin said. “We were so ready to go on. We were like ‘we can do this.’ And as it went on we were just more and more ready. Then we gained more and more confidence with one another.”
The Generals had 14 players selected to the All-Region 1B team earlier this week. Franklin, Virginia Biller, Casey Gibson, Eli Dellinger, Katie Jordan, Brooke Jones, Madison Wright, Janine Nunez and sophomore goalkeeper Lilly Proctor were all named first team. Emily Poole, Paola Arrocena-Jacuinde, Morgan Gibson, Julia Biller and Chloe Monroe were all named to the second team. Eli Dellinger was named Player of the Year with Ginny Dellinger being named Coach of the Year.
The youthful Generals, who have 11 sophomores and three freshman on the squad, are making their first-ever state appearance. Franklin said that she was confident from the beginning of the season that the team could go far this year.
“I knew from the start ‘we can do it, we can go all the way,’” Franklin said. “Hopefully when Friday comes we’ll be ready to play our hearts out there and hopefully get us to the finals.”