Lady Eagles fly to impressive start

Published 11:24 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

Prince Edward County High School’s varsity girls soccer team carried a 4-0 record into its home game Wednesday against Park View High School, of South Hill. This represents an exciting start to the 2018 season for the Lady Eagles.

“This is the strongest that our team has ever started, for the most part, and then the improvement that they’re already making is really great,” Prince Edward Head Coach Madeline Buczek said. “So I’m excited for the rest of the season just to see how much better they get.”

The Lady Eagles opened the year with an 8-0 win over visiting Nottoway High School on March 12.

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They edged visiting Bluestone High School 5-4 two days later. On March 19 they shut out host Randolph-Henry High School 5-0, and on March 23 they pulled away in the second half to rout Altavista Combined School 8-2 at home.

“I think this year we’re definitely the best we’ve been in a while,” said Prince Edward senior forward Natalie Cheyne after her squad’s victory over Altavista. “We’ve got a lot more experienced people on the team, so I’m feeling really good.”

That experience is found in players of all ages. The Lady Eagles feature eight seniors this year, including their three team captains: defender Audrey Butler, midfielder Samantha Buczek and Cheyne. “All three of our captains are pretty much our main people in the defense, midfield, offense, because they each play in those positions, so it worked out really well,” Coach Buczek said. “Each of them step up really well and just encourage the team, all around.”

The team also features two juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. “The freshmen that we did get are all good players, and they’ve played for a really long time,” Buczek said.

Two of them, Dianna Quick and Amber Gillen, play year-round. When citing offensive standouts, Coach Buczek led off with freshman Maria Walle Brito, who recorded a hat trick against Altavista. “She has come out really strong,” Buczek said, “and then Natalie, she’s a senior, so she’s been here for a long time, so we lean on her …”

Cheyne contributed two goals and three assists against Altavista. In the midfield, Coach Buczek’s sister, Samantha, plays in the center.

“She plays just about all the balls up for goals, and then she’s a very versatile player,” the coach said, noting she played back on defense against Altavista because Gillen was not able to be at the game.

Despite her defensive role, Samantha still scored twice. Coach Buczek said Gillen is normally one of the anchors of the defense, along with Butler. Overall, the Lady Eagles have not shied away from the tests that have come their way.

“They have definitely stepped up to every challenge that we have given them and that the other teams (have) given them, and then they adjust really well to the different teams,” Buczek said.

After Spring Break, Prince Edward visits Nottoway on Monday, April 9, at 5 p.m.