FLS Varsity

FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.

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BOYS SOCCER NOTEPAD: Early pace a bit tasking to Massaponax

The Massaponax boys soccer team didn’t have an intense practice session in advance of tonight’s nonconference contest at Colonial Forge.

It’s not that the Panthers don’t take the Eagles seriously. They were just so fatigued following back-to-back matches against Riverbend and Gar–Field on Tuesday and Wednesday that they needed a break on Thursday.

So following a light goalkeeper workout, the Panthers assembled for a FIFA soccer video game tournament.

“Not to take anything away from Colonial Forge, but our bodies are just absolutely spent,” Panthers head coach Marc Smith said. “We have several players out there that played virtually 160 minutes in two nights. At the beginning of the season, that’s a lot to ask.”

The Panthers (5–1) defeated Riverbend 2–1 Tuesday before they suffered their first loss of the season Wednesday against Gar-Field, 2–0.

The matchup with Colonial Forge means Group 5A Massaponax will have faced three 6A teams in a span of four nights.

Smith said it didn’t take long to realize his players weren’t full of energy in the match with Gar–Field.

“Pretty much five minutes into it, I knew their bodies were just done,” Smith said.

When the Panthers get re-energized, Smith expects them to return to the form that allowed them to capture five straight victories to open the season.

Smith was a goalkeeper on the 2002 Massaponax team that played for the Group AA state championship but lost to Blacksburg.

Smith said this year’s group is just as skillful, and it is building a similar camaraderie as well.

“We were a very close-knit group and this team reminds me with how close they are,” Smith said. “I don’t know if we can go as far. But we have a good chance because we’ll be playing some really good teams [in the regular season] and hopefully they’ll prepare us [for the postseason].”

—Taft Coghill Jr.