Rappahannock County High School’s varsity girls soccer players made history in Monday night’s (May 20) Bull Run District quarterfinals match when they defeated Madison County, 1-0, in a hard-fought battle on the Mountaineers’ own field.
Sophomore Emily Massie scored the dramatic game-winning goal just before the first half ended. “There were 17 seconds left in the half when Emma Endre ran the ball up, went to score and it bounced off a defender. It bounced to me, and I took two touches to the side. I kicked it, and it went straight through their goalie’s hands into the upper part of the net. It was so cool. My entire body was covered in goose bumps!”
In the second half, Massie added, “we went back out and totally held them off.” It was the first time in memory that the Panthers defeated a Madison team in a district girls soccer playoff.
The victory propelled the Lady Panthers into Wednesday night’s semifinal game at traditional powerhouse George Mason. (Results of that game will be in next week’s newspaper.)
Panthers goalie Jane Purnell seemed fully recovered from an injury the week before and made many great saves, and her teammates seemed inspired by a significant contingent of Rappahannock fans in attendance.
“Later, I heard one of our fans said, ‘She’s a rocket,’” Massie said. “That was such a nice feeling. I haven’t scored the entire season, so I was really excited. We all worked together better and talked more than usual. I think we just came out wanting to win more than they did.”
Lauren Light, a Panther senior, confessed that the team came in “feeling a little discouraged for a couple of reasons. Not only was it by far the hottest day of the year, but it was a Monday. Believe it or not, it’s hard to come in and play your best off of a weekend. As we began to play, it was evident that it would take a lot of willpower and even more heart to get through the heat. From the start, we knew how important this game was, and we certainly left it all on the field.
“Michelle White played a fantastic game on the defensive line,” Light said, “while Keelee Armor and Lily Endre hustled on offense. Emily Massie was our hero and scored the winning (and only) goal of the match off of a cross that I sent up from the midfield.
“Moving on in the district is such a blessing,” Light said, “and getting to do so with such an amazing team is a truly perfect way to end my senior year and final soccer season.”