Warrior Sports News: Warrior Teams Stride into Championship Season

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By David Wagner

It’s been a great spring for Warrior athletics with numerous Jefferson District, Conference 29 and even one 3A West Region championship already claimed by Western Albemarle. The spring is an extremely busy time for high school sports with nearly 20 teams (Junior Varsity and Varsity) competing at Western alone.

The Girls Tennis team blew through the Conference 29 competition en route to the 3A West Region championship, earning them a berth in the state tournament. Led by Senior Emily Kochard, the Warriors defeated Turner Ashby 5-0, Fort Defiance 5-0 and Spotswood 5-1 to win the Conference 29 championship. The Lady Warriors then mowed down the competition in the 3A Regional playoffs, beating Lord Botetourt 5-1 and Cave Spring 5-0 before facing Spotswood again and dispatching the Trailblazers 5-0  to win the 3A West Region championship. Kochard and Maddy Ix each won their singles matches in all six matches in straight sets. Lauren Kearns won five times in the six matches as did Stephanie Barton and Savannah Diamond. Barton won all of her matches in straight sets as well, and Diamond was taken to three sets only once in her five wins. The girls will be playing at Western Albemarle on June 10 in the first round of the state tournament.

Varsity Girls Soccer completed their run through the Conference 29 playoffs on Saturday, May 31. They defeated Waynesboro 6-0, Turner Ashby 1-0 and Broadway 1-0 to claim the conference championship and advance to the 3A West Regional playoffs. On June 2 the girls defeated Staunton River High School at Western Albemarle 3-0 to advance to the region semi-finals (semi-final game played on June 4 was too late for this edition). Anna Sumpter, Sarah Watkins and Nichole Heon scored the goals for the Warriors on Monday. Lillian Meggs and Sumpter each had an assist. Sumpter added two goals in the Waynesboro win and Alexis Hucek, Emma Ratcliffe, Eleri Hayden and Heon each scored one. Ratcliffe and Erin Clark each had an assist in the game. In the semi-final win over Turner Ashby, Sarah Grupp had the only goal and Hucek scored the game winner against Broadway in the Conference 29 championship game.

Varsity Boy’s Soccer annihilated their opponents in the Conference 29 playoffs, scoring 21 goals and 3 shutouts over the three-game tourney. They defeated Broadway 10-0 in the quarterfinals, Spotswood 5-0 in the semi-finals and Turner Ashby 6-0 in the championship game. And it didn’t get any tougher in the first round of the 3A West Region playoffs. The Warriors hosted Brookville (Campbell County) and won by a staggering score of 13-0. Led by Senior Forrest White (3 goals, 1 assist) the Warriors are a serious contender for the 3A state championship. White set two unofficial VHSL records on Monday night with his 3-goal, 1-assist performance. He scored 52 goals this year, setting a new single-season state record and he now has 290 points (goals/assists combined) for his career, also a new state record. Jake Paulson and Aidan Sinclair added two goals apiece in the Brookville match and Colin Moore, Will Alton, Michael Nafziger, Carrington Murphy, Nik Drapannas and Santi Campos-Lopez all scored once. Chase Stokes added two assists, Chris Ferguson added two assists and Paulson had one assist to go with his two goals on the night. The Warriors played in the region semi-finals on June 4, too late for this edition.

Lacrosse is a different animal, as most schools in the state don’t play the sport. Therefore, instead of conference and region playoffs they have group and zone playoffs. The Varsity Girls Lacrosse team won the district regular season and then went on to win the Charlottesville Group Championship and the Zone Championship. In the Charlottesville group playoffs they defeated Monticello 18-9 in the semi-finals and Albemarle in the finals 15-13. The Albemarle game was an exciting back and forth game with 5 ties and 4 lead changes. It was the Warrior’s second win in three games against the Patriots this year.

In the group title game, the Warriors got on the board first when Olivia Rentz scored to make it 1-0 Western. The Patriots scored the next three goals. Western retaliated with four in a row of their own before Albemarle scored back-to-back to tie the game at 5 all. The Warriors then scored three more times (Kate Snyder, Hannah Shuler and Sammie Magargee) and went to the half with a 9-7 lead.

The two teams traded goals to start the second half, with Albemarle scoring first, giving Western a 10-8 lead. Albemarle then got hot and took back the lead back the lead,11-10. It was the Patriots’ first lead since early in the first half when the score was 3-1 Albemarle. The Warriors then tied the game at 11 all when Magargee found Ellie Allen wide open for the score and the tie. Then Allison Berg scored back to back, unassisted goals for Western to give the Warriors a 13-11 lead, which they would not relinquish. Magargee and Snyder would each score again for Western to seal the victory and give the Warriors the Charlottesvile group title. Magargee would finish the game with 4 goals and 3 assists, leading the way for the Warriors. Western would go on to an 18-6 victory at home versus E. C. Glass (Lynchburg) in the zone playoffs to secure a spot in the regional playoffs. The regional playoff game was too late for this edition.

Boys Lacrosse defeated Monticello 17-1 in the group semi-finals (their third win over the Mustangs in 2014, outscoring Monticello 52-11 in the three games) before losing 8-6 to Albemarle in the title game. It was their third loss to the Patriots this year, losing by 2 each time. The top two teams in the group advance to the zone playoffs, so the semi-final win over Monticello ensured the Warriors of another game.

As the runner-up, Western was on the road, facing E.C. Glass in Lynchburg, whom they had beaten on the road earlier, 9-6.

Western had a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, a 7-5 lead at the half and in the third quarter they outscored the Hilltoppers 5-0. The final score was 17-9.

“The defense really settled in and the offense came to life,” said head coach Alex Whitten. “We dominated transition opportunities and forced an up-tempo style of game and their young team really couldn’t match our energy.”

Jack Loffredo won 20 of 29 faceoffs, Luke Reilly had 3 goals and two assists, Clark Sipe had 4 goals and 1 assist and Justin Haws added 3 goals for the Warriors. Carson Franklin had 13 saves in goal for Western, playing solidly as usual. The Warriors hosted Atlee too late for this edition.