Fluco girls soccer opens play-offs with 4-1 win

By Duncan Nixon

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) soccer play-offs are in full swing. The Fluco girls team opened at home on May 22 against the Minutemen of Liberty High from Bedford County. Liberty scored first after only three minutes of play, but by the middle of the first half it was clear that the Flucos were the stronger team.

Liberty’s first and only goal came on a long free kick that was driven just below the cross bar. Fluco goalie Shelby Crawford had no chance. Fluco Coach Kat Hinkle commented that “they definitely deserved that one.”  Crawford was strong in goal the rest of the game, as Liberty was turned back from then on. After 15 minutes of play, Fluco junior forward Evelyn DeMers broke into the clear and was one on one with the Liberty goalkeeper. DeMers, charging at top speed, glided the ball past the goalie and into the net to tie the score. For the rest of the half, the ball was predominately in the Liberty end. The Flucos forced several corner kicks but could not convert. The score at the end of the half was 1-1.

Early in the second half the Flucos continued to control play and after 13 minutes Demers broke through again and this time, with a defender at her side, she again beat the Liberty goalie to put the Flucos up for good. The Flucos continued to apply pressure and during a scramble in the penalty area, a hand ball was called against the Minutemen. Senior forward Maggie McWilliams was called upon to take the penalty kick and she drove it hard to the right of the goalie for a 3-1 Fluco lead. As the game was winding down, McWilliams made an excellent crossing pass to senior Ava Amato who knocked it in with 2:37 remaining to up the lead to 4-1.

After the game, Fluco Coach Hinkle praised DeMers and McWilliams for their play on offense and noted that they both were voted second team all Jefferson District. The Flucos first team pick, Christina Valladares, missed this game due to injury. Also gaining praise from Hinkle were midfielder Abby Ford, a sophomore and freshman defender Piper LaRochelle. Ford and LaRochelle were very effective in disrupting the Liberty offensive attempts. 

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