Ackerman’s four goals lead Pioneers girls’ soccer to 7-0 rout of Stonewall Jackson
WINCHESTER — Scoring four goals in a game for the first time in your life is a great chance for a “look at me” moment.
But that’s just not Casey Ackerman’s style.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without everybody around,” said the Millbrook junior forward, who scored 12 goals as a sophomore to rank second on the team. “I was just lucky I was there. The placement of [my teammates’ passes] was the reason that I scored, so I definitely cannot take all the credit there.”
Maybe not, but in scoring the first four goals in a 7-0 non-district win over Stonewall Jackson Friday, she definitely deserves some of the credit for what might have been her favorite part of the night.
If she hadn’t been so successful at finishing, center back Taylor Hicks might not have had the chance to play the entire second half on offense — and therefore score Millbrook’s final goal with eight minutes remaining.
“It’s awesome to have a defender to come up and score, somebody who doesn’t get the opportunity a lot,” Ackerman said.
Yes, a lot definitely went right for the Pioneers (2-1), who won their second straight game.
Millbrook had trouble putting the ball on goal early — and had trouble putting the ball past impressive Generals freshman goalkeeper Jessica Pechie (13 total saves) in the second half — but finishing with a 34-0 shot advantage is a sign of a pretty good game.
The Pioneers’ defense never came close to yielding a scoring opportunity to Stonewall Jackson (0-1) to give goalkeeper Caitlin Schrader an easy night in her first full game because of a preseason injury, and Ackerman was definitely correct in her assessment of Millbrook’s passing.
“One thing I’ve been stressing in every practice is possession,” Millbrook first-year coach Matt Cottino said. “We can’t move the ball, we can’t win the ball, we can’t score, if we don’t have possession.
“Being outside just three times [for practice] our first touch was pretty off our first two games. Luckily we got outside [Thursday] and we worked on possession, and I think they moved the ball a lot better [Friday]. They were moving off the ball, they were looking for each other, and they were setting each other up to score the goals.”
Ackerman broke the ice on a comparatively warm evening given the harsh winter after taking a long ball from the back just inside the top of the penalty box on the left side.
A Generals defender who fell down eased Ackerman’s run to the goal initially, but all the credit has to be given to Ackerman for leaving the second defender who came at her flat-footed. Ackerman faked as if she was going to drive left before cutting the ball inside, which gave her plenty of room to fire the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards away and give Millbrook a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
It took 19 minutes before Ackerman scored again, and it came as a result of a beautifully placed through ball by Devan Davis (one goal, one assist). Though the flow of the action was moving left, Davis played the ball from a few yards behind the midfield stripe back toward the middle, allowing a wide-open Ackerman to run onto the ball just before reaching the 18, walk in on Pechy and knock it past her for a 2-0 lead.
Ackerman then added goals off a cross from Tess Adams and a pass from Hicks to put Millbrook up 4-0 in the 36th minute en route to a 5-0 halftime lead.
“We played a lot better,” said Ackerman, whose team opened the year with a 9-1 loss to Group 5A Briar Woods. “We completely turned over a new leaf tonight because we were able to possess, which is something we hadn’t been able to do all season.”
The only thing Millbrook couldn’t do was put the mercy rule (8-0) into play, and the Generals had Pechie to thank for that.
“She came over from softball, and has never played goalie before in her life,” Generals coach Derek Hartwig said. “We actually nominated her for captain for our next game, because she was awesome. We didn’t want to lose 8-0, and she stepped up and did what she needed to do.”
The Pioneers are glad they’re finally doing what they needed to do after the rough defeat to Briar Woods.
“We learned from that big loss,” Hicks said. “We had a good week of practice, and we came out here and got a win.”
Millbrook also received a goal from Holly Elko and an assist from Nastasha Justice.
— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at email@example.comFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1