FRONT ROYAL — Skyline faced a solid James Wood girls soccer squad on Monday night and despite a loss had plenty of reasons to feel good about its performance.
The Hawks lost 4-0 to James Wood, a Class 4 school, but Skyline coach Christy Beaune said she was pleased with how her team played.
“I honestly think the girls played really good,” Beaune said. “I know there were mistakes made on each goal, but overall I would say we were right in there with them. They didn’t run all over us. I was pretty proud.”
It didn’t take long for James Wood to take the lead. Less than a minute into the game, James Wood senior Madison Myers scored on an assist from Katie Padgett. Myers’ shot hit the crossbar and bounced in past Skyline goalkeeper Laura Brown.
Despite giving up the early goal, Brown had a strong game for the Hawks. The sophomore had 20 saves, including some stellar saves on hard-hit balls from James Wood.
“She had a lot of really good saves,” Beaune said of Brown. “We’re pretty impressed. Each year she’s gotten better and better. So we’re pretty proud of how she’s doing.”
The score stayed 1-0 until the second half. James Wood coach Donavan Russell said that his team has had trouble finishing all season and that continued throughout the opening half against the Hawks. James Wood had 15 shots in the first half.
The Colonels (4-2) scored early in the second half. James Wood’s Kaylah Gankiewicz scored on a pass from Myers on a breakaway just five minutes into the second half.
Just seven minutes later, the Colonels added another goal for a 3-0 lead. Padgett scored on an assist from Abigail Ensogna.
“They got motivated and focused in the second half,” Russell said.
The Colonels added another goal on a penalty kick by freshman Olivia Walker with about 10 minutes remaining.
Beaune said she was happy with how her defense played against the Colonels.
“We actually changed things up this game,” she said of her defense. “And I feel like it went a whole lot better. So we’ve got a couple of little things to fix in the defense, but I think they’re improving with each game.”
One of the Hawks best scoring chances came with about 32 minutes left in the game. Skyline’s Jenna Stanley had her shot hit the crossbar and bounce away.
The Colonels outshot the Hawks 26-6. James Wood keeper Sadie Kerns had five saves.
Russell said the defense has been a strong point for his squad all season.
“They’ve been consistent all the way through,” Russell said. “Lauren Russell in the back, the sweeper, she’s just played fantastic. Audrey Hottle in front of her as well. We rotate the outside backs a little bit because we ask a lot of them. Hailey and Hannah Given, the twins, have played great. Yeakley Pullen’s played wonderful in back. So they’ve done well.”
The Colonels have a big game at Frederick County rival Sherando on Friday. The Warriors beat the Colonels, 1-0, earlier this season. Russell said it will be another tough game between the two squads.
“Sherando’s a tough one for us,” Russell said. “We’ve got some things to work on in practice, but they always play us tough. We play them tough. It’s always a one-goal game. Unfortunately, the last few years it’s been a one-goal game for them. So we’re hoping to change that.”
Skyline (0-4-1) plays at Culpeper today to start its Class 3 Northwestern District season. Beaune said that she thinks the team will just keep improving as the season goes on.
“We’re just looking to get better each game,” she said. “We’re only (five) games in. It’s only a quarter of the season. I’m looking forward to the rest of it. I think they’ll do good.”