BRISTOL, Va. — In what seemed like a repeat of last year, James River again knocked Gate City out of the VHSL Group A girls soccer playoffs, winning 3-1 on Tuesday evening at Sugar Hollow Park.
Ten minutes. That’s what the Lady Devils would like to have back.
Kendall Moyer scored goals in the fourth and ninth minutes to give James River a 2-0 lead.
“I think the nerves got to us the first 10 minutes. With a bunch of new starters and seeing where we replaced 10 from last year, this was the first time they have been here in this situation,” said Gate City coach Chris Mann, whose Lady Devils fell to the Lady Knights 3-0 to end last season.
Moyer, who has signed with Eastern Mennonite University, completed the hat trick with her third goal late in the second half.
The first half completely belonged to the Lady Knights as Gate City’s attempts on goal were limited.
Defensively, several strong reaches and dives from Lady Devils goalkeeper Kyra Jessee in each half kept the score close. Included in the effort was the catch of a ricochet off the goalpost that was headed for a definite Lady Knights score.
The second half brought out a different Lady Devils side.
Megan Edwards seemed to wake up her team, breaking free for the Lady Devils’ lone goal six minutes into the second half. The goal and an increase in physical play kept James River backpedaling.
“We did a lot better in the second half. We were able to contain them, and the goal seemed to help build up our confidence,” Mann said.
Moyer’s third goal with just under eight minutes to go salted away any hopes of a tie.
“It’s always good to have that lead especially against a strong team. We knew that they were going to be here in force,” said James River coach Guiseppe D’Arpa. “I know that they are not a one-man team. Seventeen-and-0 is not a bad record and they showed they can get it done without Anna McClung.”
James River advanced to face the Stuarts Draft, a 5-0 winner over Northhampton, on Friday.
Gate City, which loses only two seniors to graduation, ended the season with a 17-1 record.