POWHATAN – Head coach Jared Rottmund had to laugh.
He had heard from some about his Powhatan girls soccer team’s record – it was 5-10-1 going into the postseason – but he told his girls on the night they played their first 2019 Region 4B matchup: “How many teams get to play the two state champions twice?”
Four of their losses came to 2017 5A state titlists Albemarle and the defending Class 3 state champions Western Albemarle, to whom Powhatan narrowly lost 1-0 the second time the two teams met. When facing some of the top teams in its 4B Region – and capturing a historic 2-1 win over Midlothian while taking a narrow 1-0 loss to Hanover – Powhatan has been competitive.
“So forget the record, because we’re in the money round,” was Rottmund’s message to his players. “This is what it’s all about right here, so let’s all practice. We learned, we adapted and we’re moving forward.”
And move forward in the regional tournament they did. The Indians on Tuesday night shut-out King George 5-0 to advance to the Region 4B quarterfinals on Thursday, May 23 at Hanover. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
Carrying on the momentum from Thursday night’s Senior Night contest – which saw the Indians blow-out Orange County 10-2 – five different Powhatan seniors on Tuesday – Maya Rottmund, Rachel Mueller, Faith McNeel, Katlyn Hicks and Kaila Cook – scored all five of the team’s goals against King George. Senior Jennah Jarosinski played in goal for the shutout.
After quickly identifying King George’s target player and pulling Emma Barnett to mark her – “she did a great job,” Coach Rottmund said of Barnett – Powhatan was left with a hole in midfield, necessitating a switch to a 4-4-2 formation.
“The one thing that these girls have done well all season is adapted,” Coach Rottmund said. And that’s been a central strength for an Indians team that has also weathered injuries to several key players throughout the season.
“Everything we’ve gone through,” Coach Rottmund said, “we’ve grown through.”
Going into Thursday’s game with the Hanover Hawks, Rottmund did stress that his team needs to do better at finishing.
“It’s going to come down to who wants it,” he said. “They’re an evenly matched team with us, and that’s what it’s going to come down to: who wants it worse? Do we or do they?”