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The striker led an improving Knights team to the Group A girls soccer semifinals her final two years.
MIKE COLEMAN | Special to The Roanoke Times
Kendall Moyer (No. 17) will compete in the Virginia High School Coaches Association all-star girls soccer game tonight at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The first two games Kendall Moyer played as a high school freshman, her James River girls soccer team lost by a combined score of 8-0.
That might not seem like a reason for optimism, but Moyer harbored plenty back then.
“I just saw so much potential in the girls that were there,” Moyer said. “I saw that if we worked hard, we could make states a reality in the coming years.”
Hoping to leave a program better than how you found it? Follow the blueprint of Moyer, who departs James River after leading the Knights to back-to-back appearances in the Group A semifinals.
She’s bound for Eastern Mennonite to play soccer next fall. But first, she’ll represent James River one final time in tonight’s Virginia High School Coaches Association girls soccer all-star game at Christopher Newport University.
“I’m looking forward to seeing her one more time,” said James River coach Giuseppe D’Arpa, one of three coaches for the West squad. “I’m proud to have had the opportunity to coach her.”
Moyer, who moved from Stafford, Va., to Botetourt County before her sixth grade year, grew up playing in youth leagues against boys. Still, she wasn’t quite prepared for what she saw as a starting left striker on varsity her freshman year.
“It was a bit of a shock at first, the transition from middle school to high school,” Moyer said. “I wasn’t really expecting the skill level that I saw. But it was truly a great challenge, and after a while I got used to it.”
Moyer entered each of her four seasons with the goal of being a little bit better than the year before. She achieved that, tallying 45 goals her senior year, including six in the first Region C playoff game in May.
“She just dominates when she has the ball,” D’Arpa said. “She was man-marked by one or two defenders in every game, and she still found a way to get the shots off and score.”
Opposing teams weren’t the only ones who noticed. Her junior year, college coaches began gauging Moyer’s interest in playing at the next level.
They soon discovered that she had set that goal for herself at an early age. Moyer even took up cross country running as a junior to help build endurance for the pitch.
“I had never actually heard of Eastern Mennonite when the coach contacted me,” Moyer said. “He got me on campus and I just loved it. The team was so nice, the campus was really nice — I kind of fell in love with it.”
EMU’s gain is James River’s loss, but not before she helped elevate the profile of the program. The Knights went 29-9-1 over Moyer’s final two seasons — a long way from that 8-0 aggregate from her first two games.
Not that she’s taking any credit for it.
“Coach G came to River and turned the whole thing around and really pushed everyone,” Moyer said. “I think he was probably one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.
“He kept building and building a program until we started going to states. We ended up having a really great team this year.”
Just as she’d thought they might one day.
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