BERRYVILLE — It does not seem complacency will likely be a problem with the defending Class 2 state ladies’ soccer champions this yr.
Three days after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Class 3 Waynesboro, Clarke County opened Bull Run District play on Friday with authority. The Eagles recorded a 9-0 victory over Mountain View at Feltner Stadium that was ended after 60 minutes because of the purpose rule.
Having misplaced 11 gamers to commencement, the Generals are usually not the identical group that gave Clarke County its two hardest battles in 2021, when the Eagles went 13-0. Clarke County defeated Mountain View 4-3 in each conferences final yr, together with within the Region 2B championship recreation when the Eagles rallied from a 3-1 deficit with 12 minutes left.
The Generals’ roster scenario is out of the Eagles’ management. All Clarke County can do is management the way in which it performs, and the Eagles appear to be a group that is going to make issues very tough for the Bull Run District. Fourteen of Clarke County’s 16 regular-season video games are in opposition to Bull Run groups.
“I think we played well today,” mentioned Eagles senior midfielder and captain Maya Marasco, who had one help Friday. “I don’t think it was our best game. But I think this was a good way to start, especially our first real home game, to show our fans and the other fans what we’re made of. We’re the reigning state champs, and we want to do it again.”
Clarke County (2-0) remains to be a piece in progress, however an Eagles group that misplaced 5 starters from final yr may be even higher than it was in 2021. Clarke County had 22 photographs, led 7-0 at halftime, and restricted a Mountain View (1-2, 0-2) group that scored 10 objectives in its first two video games to only one long-range shot that goalkeeper Emma Rogers simply scooped up.
A yr in the past, Clarke County solely had one participant rating in double-digit objectives, Region 2B Player of the Year Madison Toone (36 of the group’s 91 total). Clarke County would have had extra if final yr’s schedule wasn’t condensed on account of COVID-19, however this yr’s group may have loads of double-digit scorers packed tightly collectively.
Led by sophomore ahead Kelsey Elrod — who scored the sport’s first two objectives within the opening 12 minutes and accomplished a hat trick within the second half to make it 8-0 — six gamers scored objectives on Friday.
The Eagles moved the ball round effectively and confirmed their depth, with sophomore Olivia Morise scoring two objectives off the bench. Junior Ella O’Donnell, the group’s second-leading scorer final yr (9 objectives), additionally had a purpose off the bench, and reserve Emily Zimmerman added an help.
In scoring on virtually half of their photographs, the Eagles took benefit of their alternatives. They outworked Mountain View to attain two objectives from shut vary on nook kicks. Sophomore ahead Campbell Neiman (one help) completed a bouncing ball on the finish of a sequence that started along with her heading a Rebecca Camacho-Bruno (two assists) nook towards purpose within the 14th minute, and Morise scored off Zimmerman’s help following an Abby Rogers (one purpose) nook kick within the remaining minute of the half to make it 7-0.
Elrod was introduced as much as the varsity in the beginning of the Eagles’ postseason run final yr, and he or she’s displaying she’ll make a huge impact primarily based on how effectively she completed her possibilities on Friday. After knocking her first shot in from shut vary, she drilled in a shot from about 15 yards out after taking an ideal cross into the middle of the field from Camacho-Bruno for second purpose. In the second half, Elrod’s faked a motion to the left to get a defender to lunge, and that opened up house for her to shoot to the appropriate and rating.
“I just think we have really good chemistry with each other,” mentioned Marasco when requested in regards to the group’s offense. “We all have really tight bonds this year, and I think that helps us a lot.”
And whereas Clarke County may not be challenged a lot within the common season, the win in opposition to Waynesboro confirmed its fortitude. The Eagles did not fare significantly effectively on the scoreboard in opposition to Region 4C powers James Wood and Handley in preseason scrimmages, however Clarke County beat Waynesboro in a bodily battle.
“We played probably one of the hardest games we’ve ever played,” Marasco mentioned. “We went so hard, and I was so proud of the girls and how we actually showed up. There were some of the most physical girls I’ve played against.”
Eagles coach Jon Cousins mentioned the Waynesboro recreation was a fantastic check.
“They played so hard,” Cousins mentioned. “They withstood every physical push and when they were thrown to the ground. We want to pass the ball around and try to keep possession, and those kids were really hard on us. But our players fought back, and that was so important. We only got only one [goal], because they had a really good defense and a really good goalie. But that win gave them a tremendous amount of confidence coming into this game. I said if you play that way against this district and this region, and this state level, I think you’re going to be OK.
“We took some hits from Handley and James Wood, and that humbled them. But we bought again out to observe, and I maintain stressing the identical issues at observe to assist them to get higher, and it is coming alongside.”
Clarke County’s defense wasn’t tested much on Thursday, but a starting unit that features center backs Lillian Suling (she played a long ball that was redirected into the net by a Mountain View defender for Clarke County’s other goal, and also had an assist) and Bailey Mayo and outside backs Hannah Wagner and Savannah Jarvis now has contributed to two shutouts. Cousins said the chemistry in the back can still be better, but he likes how the defense is progressing.
“I’ve protection,” Cousins said. “They’re robust. They’re quick. They’re technical. They know what they’re doing. The different evening in opposition to Waynesboro, they had been below stress, they usually had a shutout. They performed rather well.”
Mountain View coach Ginny Dellinger has no doubt the Eagles will be playing in the state tournament again this year. While that will likely be the case, Clarke County plans on keeping the pressure on.
“I believe we have been displaying out at each recreation,” Elrod said. “It does not matter who we’re taking part in. We’ve simply been at all times doing our greatest.”