Matoaca Boys Soccer
Emerging as a contender for the Conference 12 Championship since 2010, the Matoaca Warriors are a defensive minded team that’s grown and played together for the past couple of seasons under head coach Jay Parker.
The Warriors have played to their strengths, led by defenders Justin Dyke and David Kim, along with goalie John Gardiner. Matoaca has notched seven shutouts this season over eleven games as of press time. As a whole, the Warriors have allowed just five goals all season- two to Clover Hill. The seven shutouts included a 1-0 victory over Meadowbrook, who qualified for the 5A South Region Tournament last season.
Matoaca dropped their first game of the year to Clover Hill, last year’s Conference 12 Champion, 2-0. A tie with a tough Thomas Dale team last week ended a nine game winning streak. Everything in between has built confidence and knowledge that this team can play.
“We’ve developed some confidence since our loss,” said Parker. “We’ve gotten better in different aspects of the game and have more contributions from the middle of the field – we’re connecting the dots.”
Davis Topping, a senior has been the team’s star notching 14 goals and 11 assists so far this season, quite the play maker for Matoaca. He’s aided by Alec Sadler with facilitating the offense (eight assists) and has a trio of outside midfielders in Tatum Branch (seven goals), Eric Purcell (four goals) and Sja Johnson (one goal) that are all capable attackers.
The team’s balance will serve them down the stretch as they look to break a five year trophy drought on the soccer field.
Thomas Dale Girls Soccer
The Knights, who’s lone loss came from James River are looking like they could play with James River and Cosby for a Conference 3 Championship. Depending on how seeding falls and results, they could head to regionals again this year.
Offensively, the Knights are led by sophomore Dominique Grubbs. The sophomore hasn’t had any sort of slump whatsoever, surpassing her goal total from last year (22) with a six goal performance last Thursday against Matoaca. Grubbs now has 23 goals on the season.
Katie Waring, a senior is an outstanding midfielder and runs the offense. She’s the second leading scorer for the Knights and leads the team in assists.
Emily Johnson, Kelly Waring and Jenna Davis have also been consistent contributors for Thomas Dale.
Conference 3 is traditionally very tough in soccer. Both James River and Cosby have competitive teams this season, but a Knights’ squad that’s a year older is more experienced and ready to take on the challenges that the Conference 3 tournament will offer in a couple of weeks.
Matoaca Boys Tennis
For a team that lost its head coach and four of its top seeds from the Conference 12 tournament champions, Matoaca is in pretty good shape as it looks for its second straight 5A South Region Tournament berth.
While Brandon Harper, Reid Driskill, Curtis Strickland and Matthew Padgett graduated, a series of players have stepped up to keep the team competitive, with Connor Thomas, Blake Miles, Simon Lee, Treigh Smith and Kevin Shaw among their top six.
With their losses coming to expected Conference 12 Champion Clover Hill and 3A East State Championship hopeful Colonial Heights, there is still much room to improve.
Matoaca Tennis Head Coach Neil Ramirez is proud of his team’s effort, but discussed three players that had stepped up. One of those is Connor Thomas, a sophomore, who was recently promoted to the team’s number on seed.
“Even though he’s a sophomore, he’s shown that he has the ability to play with other number one players,” Ramirez said.
With that, a pair of players anchor the bottom half of the Warriors’ line-up. Senior Treigh Smith at the four and sophomore Kevin Shaw at the five. Both athletes have only lost one singles match a piece this season and have become reliable sources of earning a point against opponents.
To make it back to regionals, the standings dictate that Matoaca will have to get past Manchester, to repeat as Conference Champions, they’ll have to knock off the Cavaliers and former Matoaca Head Coach Chris Szybisty.
“They are a very solid team,” said Ramirez. “Even the bottom of the line-up is tough, they are deep, their #7 guy could probably play as their #4.”
The Conference 12 Boys’ tennis tournament will commence in a couple of weeks at Prince George High School.