School and Sports News for March 22

RCHS boys start with a shutout

On Friday night, March 16, Rappahannock County High School’s boys soccer team officially started its season with a shutout victory on the road against Skyline High School.

“From our goalkeeper, Ben Estes, to our forwards, I thought it was a very strong performance,” said coach James Lofton. “Defenders Matt Lombardi, Clayton Hatcher, Logan Vest and Andrew Oyster all played the entirety of the game, helping the team to secure that shutout. Our goalkeeper, Ben Estes held down the fort and kept a clean slate.

“The first half of the game was noted by a Skyline corner kick that was cleared off the goal line to preserve our momentum and two goals,” Lofton said, “the first by Jon Letson, the second by Amrit Tamang, and both of which were assisted by Tanyon Lee. We went on to net two more goals in the second half – the first by Tanyon Lee, assisted by Matt Lombardi, and the second by Pat Foley assisted by Tanyon Lee. Zack Armor, Edwin Garcia, Robbie Adams, and Case Kramer all did a high amount of running – both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball – that allowed us to maintain pressure. The boys held momentum, and Amrit Tamang nearly scored in the waning seconds of the game; however the game was called and the goal discounted.

“For Coach Tucker, my assistant, and I, perhaps the most gratifying part of the game was seeing the commitment, support, and positive energy of the team as a whole,” said Lofton. “After a goal or two, I’ve seen many teams that coast – become relaxed and nonchalant – but our boys maintained their concentration and continued to play quality soccer. I think that’s a sign of the kind of mental toughness that carries a team far.

“I really think this particular team has the potential to be the kind of group that bonds based on excellence in athletics, common goals, respect, and servant-leadership,” he said. “The boys are starting to realize that the sum of their parts is greater than any one individual. We’re going to be the kind of group that, come the end of the season, surprises other teams with how much we’ve grown and developed.

“I’m excited for next week,” Lofton said. “We need to continue to raise the bar in practice. We have a long way to go if we want to be the kind of standard setters that we all hope to be throughout this season.”

Panthers meet Skyline again at 7 on Friday (March 23) at home. “They will be gunning for us,” Lofton said, “and they’re the kind of team that will put us on our back if we don’t continue to get better and raise our performance.”

Skyline 2, RCHS JV 1

Rappahannock’s JV boys soccer team fell to Skyline on March 16 in a tough 2-1 loss.

“Skyline was a team that we felt like we could have beaten,” said coach Andrew Weyer.  “Luckily for the guys, they get another shot at redemption next week at home [March 23].”

“Skyline scored the first goal on a PK early in the first half,” Weyer said. “About 10 minutes after the first goal, Steven Hensley received a nice through ball, beat a man and scored, sliding the ball just by the keepers reach to make it 1-1.  Steven ended up having five shots on goal.

“Both teams had several chances on goal after the first two, but Skyline was able to break through our defense to make it 2-1 on a nicely placed shot in goal, just out of reach of keep Daniel Schlosser,” Weyer said. “Daniel played well with seven saves in goal, particularly on a one-on-one situation. He made a great choice and reacted very well to make the save.”

Also on the highlights list was Ben Montgomery. “He was a rock in my defense, clearing many potentially dangerous balls that were played into his area. Gus Norris played very well, creating many chances for himself and other players on goal. Logan Welch played the toughest, keeping constant pressure on Skyline. Whether it was on offense or defense, he was all over the field.  I felt like the guys played better as a team; they were talking a bit more and have been developing their soccer skills at a great rate. I’m excited for the rest of the season to play out.”

– M.D.

Wakefield’s February athletes

Wakefield Country Day School announced its athletes last week for February: The female Athlete of the Month was varsity swimmer Rachel Dumez of Front Royal and the male Athlete of the Month, varsity swimmer Michael O’Heir of Boston.

DuMez, who captained the girls’ team at Wakefield, was named to the Delaney Athletic Conference All-Conference Team as a result of her being the DAC champion in two events, the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, setting conference records in both events.  

O’Heir, the boys’ swim team captain, helped lead the Wakefield team to a top-seven finish at the DAC meet and was DAC champion in the 100 breaststroke. He was named to the All-DAC Team for his finishes in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

– contributed reports

Lady Panthers post a thrilling double-A win |

Last Friday night (March 16), Panther stadium witnessed a thrilling, 2-1 win for the varsity Lady Panthers soccer team.

“We’ve had a shaky start to the season,” said coach Rich Hogan, “with scrimmages against Eastern View and Culpeper, losing both 1-0 and 3-0 respectively. But the girls put it all together against their third straight double-A school, Skyline.

“Within the first half of the game, we scored two goals,” he said. “Amber Dodson arched the ball over the goalie’s head with a nicely preformed laces ‘Tieweggie Kick’ taught by none other than Rappahannock’s assistant coach Rick Johnson. With a smooth pass from varsity teammate Emily Pearcy, Lauren Light placed a scorcher in the left-hand corner of the goal for the second goal.”

The thrills continued when “Keelee Armor and Emily Massie had the crowd on its feet with their numerous breakaways that placed them face-to-face with the Skyline keeper,” Hogan said. “Unfortunately, neither found the back of the net. Newcomer Lily Endre had a net ripper that just crossed the face of the goal, and we tallied 15 shots on goal.

Lady Panthers tallied multiple accolades on their home turf and showcased their skills for the crowd. “Our net was held down by the master technician Dani Boutte,” Hogan complimented. “She did a fantastic job with several exciting saves. The defense of Michelle White, Bryn Sonnett, Haley Hogan and Catlin Humbles held off the Skyline team until very late in the game to make a well-placed shot from the 18 to score. Maria Gerralda controlled the midfield with Amber Dodson, Shelby Burnett and Haley Hogan. Others contributing to the win during key processions were Katie Hale, Emma Fisher, Alania Divine and Eleasha Clement.

“The girls have made improvements in their technique and speed,” Hogan said. “It’s not all about scoring; it’s about the process of working with your teammates to get the ball down the field together and capitalizing on opportunities when they are present.” After the game, coach Regina Jonson said, “We the coaching staff are very proud of the girls tonight.”

This Friday night (March 23), Lady Panthers travel to Skyline for a second chance to defeat their Front Royal opponent.

– M.D.

Junior Panther girls tie WCDS

The Junior Panther girls had their home opener against county rival Wakefield Country Day School last Thursday, March 15, with a 3-3 tie.

“It was the nail-biter that always ensues whenever these two teams meet up,” said coach Natalie Hathaway. We were down 3-1 with 19 minutes left in the second half when the girls dug in and showed their true Panther Pride. They netted two more goals to end the game with a tie.

“Our first score, a penalty kick by Tymbor Lee, sailed over a wall of Wakefield defenders and landed in the upper corner of the net,” Hathaway said. “Nobody could have touched that ball! The two other scores were the result of tremendous teamwork that started at midfield. Passes went from Jessica ‘Gingy’ Thorne to Kayla Robey to Julia Estes for those scores.”

JP girls starting team returns several seventh-grade and two eighth-grade starters. The rest of the team is players who are starting their second year. The team also includes Hannah Bennet and several players who are new to the sport.

“Wakefield fielded a team with a majority of eighth graders,” Hathaway said. “Their team definitely had an advantage in physical size, but obviously, not in heart. I am so immensely proud of these girls. They never gave up, and it was so amazing how they finished. They have already proven themselves to be champions!”

– M.D.

Two losses for Panther baseball |

Panther varsity baseball suffered two recent losses at home. Last Friday, the boys fell Colonial Beach, 14-4. On Tuesday night (March 20), Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy took the victory, 10-9.

In last Friday’s game, “the kids were making better contact while hitting,” coach Jake Kezele said. “Garfield Burke was swinging well, as was Jacob Dawson. Our pitchers threw fairly well, giving up only one walk. The defense did not show up for this game. We committed 11 errors.”

On Tuesday night, Kezele said, “It was a much better game at the plate. “We saw a lot more aggressiveness at the plate, and we had a lot more hits. Brandon Walker and Evan Hitt made solid contact with the ball. The game went back and forth with the score and we ended up in extra innings. Unfortunately, a couple of costly errors in the late innings allowed the other team to take the lead.”

Rappahannock travels to Manassas Park next Tuesday, March 27.

– M.D.

RCHS softball can’t hold on to lead |

In a disappointing Friday home game (March 16), varsity Panther softball girls fell 6-4 to Colonial Beach.

“We started strong,” coach Andy Hipple said, “but in the end, we made several key mistakes that allowed Colonial Beach to hang in and take the lead in the seventh inning.”

Even with the defeat, Panthers tallied some shining moments. “Peyton [Bailey] was tremendous in our first outing of the season with seven solid innings on the mound.  Lyndie [Paul] and Peyton scored in the first on a sacrifice by Taylor [Ordlie] that created some confusion for the Drifters. Maddie [Kopjanski] and Casey [Fletcher] scored in the bottom of the sixth on errors by Colonial Beach.

“While we did not come out winners tonight,” Hipple said, “I was pleased with the ability of the team to be supportive of each other when we make mistakes. We now look toward Bull Run district play on Tuesday, March 27, at Manassas Park.”

– M.D.