Overcomers on the field

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Central High School’s varsity soccer team experienced a somewhat disappointing conclusion last week to a season otherwise punctuated by the overcoming of adversity.

The No. 5 Chargers were able to put goals on the scoreboard May 28, but host No. 4 Altavista High School ultimately outpaced Central, winning 9-3 in the Region 1B tournament quarterfinals.

“I was a little disappointed,” Chargers Head Coach Hunter Dipaolo said. “We had some players not show up at all and some not put forth their best efforts.”

But he stated that the deciding factor of the game “was that Altavista is a stronger team than us.”

Central did have players creating highlights, though.

Junior striker/midfielder Hunter Meade scored all three of the Chargers’ goals, and Dipaolo also singled out sophomore defender Hampton Blake.

“It is his first year playing, and he has learned quickly how to play his position, and it showed,” the coach said. “He did a great job against Altavista.”

Central finished the year with an overall record of 4-12-1.

“This year did not turn out the way I expected,” Dipaolo said. “Overall, I’m very pleased with the way the team handled the adversity — injuries, teammates leaving midseason, etc. — that they faced and were able to bounce back from that and become strong again. As I’ve stated before, we have a lot of younger/inexperienced players who stepped up and took on a role that they otherwise may not have had to take on, and they did it brilliantly.”

He noted his team’s best performance this year came May 15 on the road against Nottoway High School, the Chargers’ next-to-last regular season game.

“Even though we lost 3-2, everything came together that game, and we finally played as a team,” Dipaolo said. “That was an exciting game to watch.”

The coach indicated he will especially miss the contributions of two key seniors — goalkeeper Earl Ginn and defender/midfielder Sam Watson.

“Earl and Sam, collectively, are the backbone of the team,” Dipaolo said.