Massaponax girls soccer coach Tim Fetner knew the type of talent that was coming to the Panthers this season.
That’s why Fetner was comfortable taking a hands-off approach when he learned dynamic twin freshmen Kaitlyn and Kristina Venzen were entering Massaponax from Battlefield Middle School’s unbeaten 2018 team.
“I kind of stayed out of it,” Fetner said. “I knew who they were. You know they’re coming.”
Now the rest of the Commonwealth District knows about the Venzen twins and four other Massaponax freshmen.
The youthful Panthers captured their first district tournament title in three years Friday evening with a 3–2 victory over Colonial Forge at Stafford High School.
Massaponax (2–0) got a goal and two assists from Kaitlyn Venzen, while her sister took five shots on goal and provided eight takeaways for the Panthers.
“I knew how much this meant for me and my team,” Kristina said. “I knew how much it meant for us to win a championship and how hard we worked to get here. So I knew that if I gave my all and just trusted my teammates to give their all, we could win.”
The Panthers also got one goal each from sophomore midfielder Rylie White and senior defender Aramis Dominguez as they built a 3–0 lead. Freshman forward Alexa Stohr recorded an assist.
Kaitlyn’s rocket shot from a little more than 10 yards away gave the Panthers a 2–0 lead 12 minutes into the second half.
Fetner said Kristina is “the fastest kid I’ve ever seen in my life,” while Kaitlyn “has a shot that’s so hard, it’s crazy.”
That power was demonstrated against the Eagles.
“My coach is always like, ‘Take a touch and shoot because the keeper won’t be ready,’” Kaitlyn said. “So I processed that in my head and I took a touch. I could see the pole and I could see the net so I curved it right there and I knew she wouldn’t be able to get it.”
The Eagles didn’t quit.
Junior midfielder Riley Morrison delivered the team’s first goal 65 minutes into the match, unassisted. The Eagles pulled within one tally on sophomore striker Jaelei Spears’ goal off an assist from Maddie Johnson in stoppage time, which went on for seven minutes.
While the Panthers awaited the game’s official end, the Eagles kept attacking. They made one final run toward a tying goal before the official’s whistle finally sounded.
“I’m proud of the way they played. I’m proud they were able to at least bring those two goals back and have a chance at the end,” Eagles head coach Dave Rombough said. “It shows their character after playing 110 minutes and then penalty kicks [Thursday night]. They showed they still had a little bit left in them.”
The Eagles defeated Mountain View 4–2 on penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation and three overtime periods on Thursday. The Panthers were better rested. They had a bye in the seven-team tournament via preseason draw. So Friday’s game was their second of the week. It was the Eagles’ third.
“Our legs were tired. Our legs were heavy,” Rombough said. “They ran us ragged those first 20 minutes. We couldn’t get out of our end of the field. We finally came to life towards the end, but by then it was a little too late to make up three.”
The Eagles will be back in action against Stonewall Jackson on Monday at home at 6 p.m. The Panthers visit Courtland Tuesday at 7 p.m.