Girls’ soccer off to a strong start

By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

The Fluco girls’ soccer team started the season strong with a 4-1 win over Waynesboro Monday (March 11).

The Flying Fluco girls’ soccer team, under second year coach Kat Ditta, was led by sophomore forward Kelsea Herring, who had two goals, and by junior goalie Brooke Nazar, who was especially strong in turning back the Little Giants.

In their first regular season game, the Flucos dominated early, controlling the ball and forcing corner kicks, but not achieving a score. Herring and sophomore Kaitlin Bower had scoring chances but were turned away. It was only after over 32 minutes of play that the Flucos broke through.

Freshman Christina Valladares made a perfect short pass to Herring, who fired an accurate shot into the lower left corner of the goal and with 7:29 remaining in the first half, the Flucos were ahead for good 1-0. Late in the half, freshman mid-fielder Runa Scales almost made it 2-0 with a powerful long shot that sailed just too high.

Very early in the second half, the Little Giants presented the Flucos with a gift that the Flucos were glad to accept. A Little Giants defender trying to clear the ball from in front of her net inadvertently hit the ball on the wrong side of her foot, driving it into the goal, for what is known as an own goal. They happen even at the professional level. The Flucos led 2-0 with 38:17 left in the game.

Nine minutes later, Bower got off a strong shot from in front of the goal and it caromed off the right post into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.

Just past the halfway point of the second half, the Little Giants finally got on the board, scoring on a breakaway that Nazar had little chance of stopping. This was about the only defensive lapse by the Flucos in the entire 80 minutes of play.

The final score of the game came with 7:57 remaining and iced the game for the Flucos. Herring scored again on a breakaway, set up by a nice pass from Scales. Herring finished nicely beating the goalie with a left-footed shot from point blank range.

Several Fluco players stood out in this season opener. Brooke Nazar was excellent in goal, making the right decisions all game long on when to come out at a challenging attacker and when to stay back. There were no spectacular saves, but when a goalie is making the right decisions there often are not.

Controlling midfield is always important in soccer and the Flucos were good in this category as well. Scales was especially strong in this regard. There is normally not a lot of scoring in soccer, regardless of the level involved, but you cannot win if you do not score. Herring was the answer for the Flucos with a couple of impressive scores off a couple of nice assists.

Ditta noted that this is a young team with only two seniors on the roster. Both Madi Nazar and McKenzie Herring were starters in the opener. The season is long with 16 regular season games, but winning the opener is always good.

The Flucos traveled to Waynesboro March 18 for an immediate rematch of their opener. On March 25 the girls will play at Monticello High. They will host Orange County March 28.

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