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Kettle Run gets first win of girls soccer season with 2-0 victory over Liberty

Friday, Mar. 28 | By Jeff Malmgren
Kettle Run knotched their first win with good defense during a 2-0 victory over Liberty on Friday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Beating Liberty was icing on the cupcake.

That’s because stepping on the soccer field Friday felt like a victory by itself for the Kettle Run Cougars.

Prior to defeating the Eagles, 2-0, on the road in Bealeton, the Cougars had played outside only three times – twice during practice and once during their season-opening game March 21. Given the frequent unplayable status of Kettle Run’s home field, the Cougars felt pleased with their performance Friday.

“Being our fourth time outside, we’re not used to the big field [but] I think we worked it really well,” junior forward Emily Brummett said between bites of a celebratory cupcake after the match.

Kettle Run improved its record to 1-1 following a season-opening loss to John Champe, 3-0, while Liberty’s record fell to 1-2, after beginning the season with a 2-0 win over King George and then losing to Courtland, 7-0.

Although the Eagles lost Friday, they played much better than in their last match against Kettle Run. Liberty finished last season with a 9-0 loss to the Cougars in the semifinals of the Evergreen District tournament.

“That left a really bad taste in our girls' mouths and it stayed there all winter long,” Eagles first-year coach Miranda Clayson said. “So that was the first thing we wanted to work on – focusing on how we can improve so we’re not getting blown away, especially by our intra-county schools.”

Liberty finished last season with a 3-12 record.

“They got a lot better,” said Brummett, who scored the second of the Cougars’ two goals Friday.

“I’m very happy we held them to two, but I can’t wait for next game,” Clayson said.

Neither can the Cougars.

“We’re still working out kinks and stuff,” Kettle Run senior Erika Blevins said. “So round two should be fun.”

The Cougars and Eagles will play again May 14 in Nokesville.

On Friday, Kettle Run took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute off a corner kick by Blevins. The ball found Taylor Decker near the far post on Blevins’ corner kick and ricocheted back toward the middle of the field. Senior midfielder Lauren Schlenker gathered the ball in front of the net and scored.

“The two goals they got, they were in the right place at the right time,” Clayson said.

Brummett ran to the right place for Kettle Run’s second goal. Junior defender Danielle Contreras kicked a through ball from about 40 yards out and Brummett ran it down near the goal face.

“I ran on to it and just touched it,” Brummett said.

“We switched the field nicely and opened up” space, Blevins said. “I think that gave us chances.”

The Cougars finished with 21 shots (nine on goal), while Liberty had seven (four).

The Eagles created some solid counter-attacks, but Kettle Run controlled the ball much of the match. The Cougars often strung together multiple passes while the Eagles sometimes missed playing the ball to each other’s feet by mere inches.

“We really look to crate the opportunities and play off of one another,” Kettle Run coach Elizabeth Martin said. “It’s them knowing where the person’s going to run. … They just have the connections together.”

If that’s the case, Blevins plays the part of Kettle Run’s switchboard operator as center midfielder.

From the neck up, Blevins looked like a periscope, surveying the entire field while her feet remained focused on the ball.

“They have an excellent midfield and that’s what we need to work on,” Clayson said. “A lot of movement on the ball.”

“We have excellent strikers,” she said “We’re just not getting them enough touches.”

Midfielder Savannah Chaffin fueled a late push by Liberty with a few aggressive attacks during the final five minutes, but Kettle Run’s defense made some timely stops to maintain the shutout.

“She’s constantly making her runs,” said Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Dodson, who felt encouraged by the Eagles’ offensive attack. “She’s always looking for the open pass.”

Dodson finished with eight saves for the Eagles, diving to stop most shots on goal near the posts. Kettle Run keeper Jackie Doores finished with four saves.

“I think it’s good we played so well being our second game,” Blevins said. “We know we’re going to get better. That’s exciting.”

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