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Girls’ Soccer Scrimmage Showcases Potomac’s New Turf

Friday’s three-way girls’ soccer scrimmage at Potomac High School was an evening of firsts.

For the three teams involved, Pope John Paul the Great in Dumfries, C.D. Hylton, and the host Panthers, the evening served as a first look at full eleven-on-eleven competition with a live opponent.

But more importantly for everyone at Potomac, the evening marked one of the first athletic events held on the Panthers’ new multi-purpose turf field. The new surface, inside Chuck Coles Memorial Stadium, will host a variety of field sports starting this spring.

The renovation, which started in 2012, forced Potomac’s football program to play all of its games on the road last fall. Now that the field is ready, area teams can take advantage of the versatility that such a facility provides.

“It’s quite exciting,” said Potomac girls’ soccer coach Caly Bruton of the new playing surface. “Last year, we dealt with a lot of not great field conditions, but that’s kind of the case in a lot of the schools around the county. But Prince William is really working hard to provide quality facilities for everyone.”

The facility will also facilitate a speed and style-of-play more analogous to high-level soccer.

“It changes the whole pace of the game,” explained Bruton, “much quicker, much faster, and much safer. It’s a little bit more of true soccer, as opposed to working around poor field conditions.”

The Panther girls will have the benefit of 10 home games on the new field, as they look to improve upon their one-win campaign a season ago.

Potomac is looking to couple its new-look turf with a fresh dynamic, something the team never quite achieved a season ago.

“We never quite meshed,” said Bruton of 2012. “But this year it’s already a new face and a better chemistry.”

Senior midfielder Kristin Whitehurst, who Bruton dubbed “the core of our team”, will be a fixture in the Panther lineup. Whitehurst netted two goals in Potomac’s 30-minute session with Pope John Paul the Great Friday.

Bruton also mentioned Icelandic transfer student Kristrun Rut, who will turn around to make an impact on the soccer squad after contributing to Potomac’s postseason basketball run.

Hylton, under first year coach Joe Patonetz, comes into 2013 in a different situation, fresh off a regional tournament berth and 14-3 record a season ago.

But the Bulldogs are young, with nine of the 20 roster spots on this year’s squad held by freshmen.

However, Hylton boasts a veteran presence in the net, with senior goalkeeper Maddi Miles returning to mind the twine for the Bulldogs this season.

And with a strong midfield headed up by senior captain Carmen Saurez, Hylton will look to impose its fitness on opponents late in matches.

“We have a lot of speed this year, with the youth,” said Patonetz.

Patonetz also believes Potomac’s pristine new field turf offers a big advantage to not just the Panthers, but to all of the schools in eastern Prince William.

“All the fields should be turf, so we can play on rainy days,” he said. “It will improve playing on the eastern end of the county, big time.”

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