The Patriot High School girls’ soccer team doesn’t have captains. No, Coach Kelly Beauchamp-Payne says with a laugh, the Pioneers have five “Mama ducks” who are each responsible for their “families” of younger players — their “baby ducks.”
“Everyone wants their ducks to succeed, to do well,” Beauchamp-Payne said.
The mentorship program isn’t new to this season, but Patriot’s commitment to it is. Without a go-to scorer as in years past, the Pioneers are playing more connected and as unselfish as ever. Their play on the field reflects as much, as Patriot carries a 6-0 record into Wednesday’s home game against Colonial Forge.
“There is no slacking off on our team,” Beauchamp-Payne said. “I don’t think I’ve had to say, ‘Let’s pick up the intensity,’ once in practice all year.”
On Monday afternoon, Beauchamp-Payne sat in her office at the school, looking over the team photos from recent years affixed to the wall. Amada Nhek finished her career with 104 goals before graduating last spring, Beauchamp-Payne recalled, and before her Abby Gardner was Patriot’s dominant scorer.
No one has stepped into that role this season, but Beauchamp-Payne has nothing to complain about. In fact, she said this year’s attack is one the most dangerous the team has had in years. Courtney Ellis has six goals, and Helena Spencer has five, but that’s just scratching the surface of the team’s production.
“I could have another starting 11 coming off my bench and feel confident playing against another team,” Beauchamp-Payne said.
Patriot has outscored opponents 28-4 this year, but it was how the team performed against Mountain View that Beauchamp-Payne said most exemplified the Pioneers’ potential.
In the Wildcats’ only defeat of the season, the Patriots controlled possession and took a ton of chances in the scoring third, both inside and outside the box. The Pioneers cruised to a 5-0 victory, with contributions from across the roster.
Patriot’s dominance was on display again Monday night in an 8-0 win over Stonewall Jackson. In about a week the team will hit the road to take on Battlefield, perhaps its biggest rival, in a game that’s likely to test the team’s character.
Beauchamp-Payne isn’t concerned, not with her “mother ducks,” — junior Erin Ackerman and seniors Amber DiOrio, Haley Price, Ashley Brumagim and Kaelyn Loague — watching over the team.
“If your ‘Mama ducks’ are always the hardest workers, it makes it so much better for how team dynamics run,” Beauchamp-Payne said. “You never have to wonder who’s going to work hard, because everyone knows that’s just what we do.”
1. Madison (3-0-1) Last ranked: 1
Still without injured senior forward Rachel Jackson, the Warhawks received a boost from sophomore midfielder Elsa Sontheimer, who scored in overtime to give Madison a 2-1 win over Westfield.
2. Chantilly (5-0-1) LR: 2
Despite losing two starters to injury, the Chargers kept their unbeaten streak alive in a 2-1 victory over Westfield thanks to goals from Serena Pham and Gloria Ahn.
3. Oakton (5-1-0) LR: 3
The Cougars bounced back from the Chantilly loss with wins over Centreville and Westfield.
4. Yorktown (5-1) LR: 4
Lauren Flynn and Maddie Winer scored goals to give the Patriots a 2-0 win over Washington-Lee and push the team’s winning streak to five.
5. Battlefield (6-0) LR: 5
Karter Corini and Sydney Leonard scored goals in the Bobcats’ 2-1 win over Forest Park, starting off a grueling week for Battlefield that also includes games against Stonewall Jackson and Madison.
6. Briar Woods (4-0) LR: 8
Seven different Falcons players scored in the team’s 7-1 win over John Champe, and Briar Woods will look for that same kind of production Wednesday against Freedom.
7. Tuscarora (5-0-1) LR: 9
Dacheka Kolcum scored her team-high 10th goal of the year and Katie Oliver and Morgan Biebighauser had one goal each in the Huskies’ 3-1 win over Broad Run.
8. W.T. Woodson (3-0-1) LR: 7
Megan Welther and Chloe Dawson scored goals as the Cavaliers played to a 2-2 draw against Lake Braddock.
9. Patriot (6-0) LR: NR
The high-powered Pioneers offense returns to the pitch Wednesday against Colonial Forge.
10. T.C. Williams (5-1) LR: 6
After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Hayfield, the Titans bounced back with an 8-0 romp over Annandale.
Dropped out: George Mason
On the bubble: Hayfield