Girls Soccer Takes Conference

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Nichole Heon, Ava Coles, Nell Fountain and Emma Ratcliffe

By beating Broadway 8-0 May 25, the WAHS girls’ varsity soccer team captured their fourth straight Conference 29 championship. The win topped off a tournament the lady warriors dominated, logging two additional 7-0 victories—one against Fort Defiance, the other versus Waynesboro in the semi-finals. Leading the title-game’s offensive onslaught was Abigail Zimmerman with three goals, Savannah Wilson and Katrine Berg with two apiece, and Julia Berg with one.

“At this point we’ve scored 106 goals this year, with Abigail, who’s a junior, leading the team with 19 on the season,” said assistant coach Robert Crickenberger. “She’s followed by our twin sophomores, Julia and Katrine Berg, who have 14 and 13 goals scored, respectively. Junior Elizabeth Fabiano has 11 goals as well.”

That’s an impressive average: around 5.6 goals per game. Even more astounding, the girls’ defense held opponents to a total of 11 goals on the season—and nine of those came at the hands of Albemarle, which beat the girls’ twice during the regular season.

“Our lowest point of the spring was probably just after our games against Albemarle,” said Crickenberger. The losses came within a week of one another and were therefore particularly hard to swallow. “Those games forced our girls to cope with the fact we aren’t invincible and that when we don’t play our best, quality teams will exploit and beat us.” The blow forced the girls to reevaluate their commitment and work ethic. “We were able to quickly rebound,” he said, pointing to subsequent wins against tough, out-of-conference powerhouses like Salem and Jefferson Forest. “Those defeats ultimately made us a stronger team.”

Heading into the regional tournament, the girls have won seven-straight games since their May 4 loss at Albemarle. “From a leadership standpoint, our captains really stepped up their game, and we look for that to continue,” Crickenberger said, referring to junior Shannon Moore, and seniors Nichole Heon and Emma Ratcliffe.

Crickberger said Zimmerman has been exemplary throughout the season: “She’s been a tremendous contributor this year. She was a solid player for us last year as well, but her offseason training sessions with Coach Desch led to drastic improvements. That hard-work has really paid off.” Defensively, the coach said Berg—who also sometimes also plays forward—and Moore formed the core of the team’s backline. “They’ve anchored our defense to such a degree that we’ve only allowed goals in four of our 19 games this season, which is truly an amazing accomplishment.” Midfielder Jane Romness, a junior, was the glue that brought both sides together. “Jane is extremely talented and has a way of changing the flow of an attack when she controls the ball. Her possession and distribution have led to much of our success this year.”

While both Crickenberger and head coach Jacob Desch have their eyes set on a state championship trophy, both view the season as a success. “We have been very happy with our accomplishments thus far,” said Crickenberger. “Our players have managed to establish a very strong rapport with one another and get better throughout the year, and we’re very proud of that fact.”

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