King’s Fork JV team breaks new groundPublished 10:19pm Friday, May 31, 2013
The 2013 King’s Fork High School junior varsity girls’ soccer team produced what head coach Jason Stump said was the first winning season that the school has ever had in the sport among girls at either the JV or varsity level.
“Early in the season, I told them that I felt like we had this opportunity to make a little history, and I kept reinforcing that, and I think they bought into that early,” head coach Jason Stump said.
Stump, in his second year as coach of the team, led a combination of talented eighth-graders and experienced underclassmen to an 8-4 record.
“I think the key was getting kids that loved the sport, and when they love it, they’re going to put time into it,” he said.
He said he was lucky to have a strong group of eighth-graders, who were not allowed to play on the varsity squad because of their age. Seven of the 19 players on the roster were in this youngest age group on the team, and several had played together for years and been coached by Stump on the middle school team.
He also gave credit to some of the older players, leading to what he felt was a key strength across the roster: “Everybody on the team was very willing to do whatever needed to be done.”
“People were very flexible where they maybe had played one position for years, but they were willing to try something else,” he said. “Once I saw the ability to do it and put them there, they were accepting of that. I had girls that might have played three or four different positions throughout the year, rather than being stuck in one spot all year, and that gave me flexibility to adjust to what I was going up against with other teams.”
Stump said that eighth-grader Skylar Wall “is one of the best sweepers you’ll find at her age group, probably can go up against any of the ones Chesapeake offers, but she was willing to go from the sweeper position, which is the very back defender, up to the front line, and probably became the leading scorer at that point.”
He also likened Wall to an assistant coach on the field because she had the ability to relay her coach’s instructions to her teammates, “and do it in a way that I don’t believe ever offended anyone,” he said.
“And of course, when she left the sweeper position, another girl, Abigail Bilby, came in and filled in (at) sweeper phenomenally,” he said.
Junior Done’t Freeman made a spectacular impression as the goalkeeper this season, having never played before.
“She stepped right in there, learned it and did so well at goal sometimes that, I would say, on three different occasions, the referees and even the other coaches came up me after the game and complimented me on her.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ only losses came in fairly competitive games against strong teams in Chesapeake, and sometimes Freeman would have upwards of 40 saves in a game.
Two returning players, sophomores Kayla Filio and Sarah Totty had played midfield and forward until this year. Stump tried them out at defense and “they just fell right into it,” he said. “It was like they had finally found a home.”
Eighth-grader Carrissa Bean wore many hats, playing a variety of positions on the front line and in the midfield also.
While freshman Shannon Gerton did not bring experience, her energy on the field picked the rest of the team up.
Stump noted that everyone on the team had their moments, and hated to leave any names out. With the girls’ developing talent and the coming realignment that will pit King’s Fork against schools of commensurate size, he sees the potential for a bright future.
“I can’t guarantee anything, but hopefully as these girls move up that could mean some conference titles for us,” he said. “Again, there’re some unknowns there, I don’t know what the other teams are getting, but we’re going to be in it, we’re going to be in the hunt.”