The James River girls dropped a 2-1 decision to arch-rival Radford last Thursday in a Three Rivers District soccer match hosted by the Bobcats, but it was more than just a game for both teams.
“Radford has largely dedicated their season to a teammate, Marilyn Alley, who died in a car crash in February,” said River coach Bill Smith. “Their uniforms and warm up gear are custom made and they start a man down with a moment of silence before announcements.
“One of my players found out about this and got our team together to make some gift bags and personal notes for the players and staff at Radford. They shared them before the game. The pregame was emotional, but the match itself was all you have come to expect when these two teams meet.”
The game itself was played largely in the midfield. Kendall Carpenter made a break on a good through ball, shooting high from outside to get on the board early for the Bobcats. The game went back and forth for the rest of the half, but with 12 minutes left in the period, River’s Ella Wright converted in front of the goal, assisted by Alise Orent, and the score was 1-1 at the half.
The second half had several chances for both sides. River freshman keeper Kylee Aaron made some spectacular saves to keep the Knights in the game but late in the half Lauren Owens scored a second goal for the Bobcats, shooting low and hard into the corner of the net. The last seven minutes of the match were frantic with a very aggressive James River team looking to equalize but not able to do so as Radford took the 2-1 win.
On Monday the Knights traveled to Floyd for a Three Rivers match and dominated the Buffalo Gals for a 9-0 win. Scoring first half goals for the Knights were Kayla Myers, Drew Whitson, Ava Thacker and Mary Hoye as River led 4-0 at intermission.
Natalie Hughes had two goals in the second half and also scoring were Shea Hubbard, Alise Orent and Victoria Race-Waller. River dominated field position, raining 24 shots on the Floyd cage. Meanwhile, River keeper Aaron touched the ball just twice in the entire game.
The Knights are at Glenvar for a big Three Rivers District game on Thursday of this week, and on Monday they host Auburn in a doubleheader with the boys.
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