PCA introduces its first ready-to-go women’s football, baseball and softball team – Reuters
Pungo Christian Academy will play its first women’s soccer game in school history on Thursday at home against Epiphany School in New Bern.
Previously, the only spring sport for girls was softball, and athletic director Logan Van Staalduinen thought there would be enough players for both teams.
“We had 40 girls interested in softball, which is way too many,” he said. “Enough of them also wanted to play football, so we formed a team. We’ve had good training so far and the girls are excited to play the first game in school history.
Sophomore hitter Katie Baxter is among the most experienced Lady Raiders after transferring from Christ Covenant School in Winterville. The Washington native made the 1A All-State team last spring and was on a runner-up state team prior to his transfer.
“She was my coach on the pitch,” Van Staalduinen said. “She’s been very patient with her teammates because most of them haven’t played much soccer. Katie appreciates being able to keep playing and looks forward to helping her teammates improve.
Conditioning and learning the fundamentals made up most of the training until Van Staalduinen entered his first year as a football coach.
“It’s like any other sport in that you have to be fit and know the techniques to compete,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of fun learning the game so far and are looking forward to the season.”
The PCA will play home games at the Union Grove Church of Christ.
Meanwhile, the softball team prepares for another deep run in the NCISAA playoffs.
They return eight players, including Tar Heel Independent Conference Player of the Year Reagan Stoop, All-ICT Conference Melanie Rutledge and outfielder Emma Hanna.
The line combined for 71 hits and 59 RBIs in just 17 games last spring. Stoop has a 1.87 ERA with 280 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched.
She and Rutledge have each done NCISAA All-State honors since 7th grade. The Lady Raiders are led by ninth-year head coach Leigh Stoop and opened the season at home Tuesday against Community Christian of Wilson.
The Baseball Raiders are returning nine players from last year’s team who went 8-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCISAA State Playoffs.
They are led by senior SS/P Devin Cadle, who is expected to be their ace on the mound this season. Cadle was TIC All Conference last year with second INF Bo Spencer. The Raiders are coached this year by Jay Etheridge. PCA finished third in the conference last year behind Lawrence Academy and Ridgecroft School. The Raiders’ season kicked off Tuesday at home against Community Christian.
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