Athlete of the Week: Ericka Estes

Freshman Cyclone nets a fantastic finish

(Editor’s note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports. This week we feature girls soccer. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

Deep into a second overtime, the Cyclones were locked in a gritty contest with former Battlefield District rival Chancellor. With just 2:20 left in overtime, Cyclones freshman winger, Ericka Estes saw teammate Maddie Walther’s shot deflect off the Chancellor goalkeeper. Seeing an opportunity she split two defenders and buried it in the back of the net to garner a 3-2 victory.

“It was very intense,” said Estes. “At first we couldn’t score, but we controlled the ball well and we fought back to earn the win. We realized that we needed to take our shots. You can’t score if you don’t take shots.”

The Cyclones played well in the first half but Chancellor’s Michelle Bezeredi scored twice, once on a counter attack and another on a set piece corner kick. Down 2-0 at the half, the Cyclones refused to hang their heads and regained their form in the second half.

The Cyclones began to dominate possession while limiting the Chargers attack. The Cyclones chipped away at the 2-0 lead when Madison Healy passed to Anna Stackhouse who buried a shot in the 21st minute of the second half. Healy then tied the game with 10:26 to play.

After one scoreless overtime, Estes provided the late heroics to earn the win in the second overtime.

The victory gave the Eastern View girls varsity soccer team a welcome boost in confidence after it suffered a humbling 8-0 season-opening loss to Courtland the previous Friday.

“We’re improving as a team and we have a nice mix of seniors and underclassmen,” said Estes. “I think that our team will continue to improve with more practice and game experience.”

Despite her youth, Estes is no stranger to the pitch.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was 5 years old and I currently play for the U-15 Culpeper Comets (Travel) in addition to playing with the Cyclones,” said Estes. “I like to think that my best attributes on the field are my heart, drive and aggressiveness.”

“I try to channel my passion into my game. Sometimes I can get pretty emotional,” she added with a smile.

When she’s not practicing or playing soccer, Estes enjoys watching the occasional professional game and doing some creative baking. She’s also a big Cake Boss fan.

“I enjoy watching the Washington Spirit and I’ve watched them play a few times,” said Estes. “I enjoy decorating cakes in my free time. I really like the creative process of making cakes. It really relaxes and focuses me.”

Creativity is another one of her attributes. On the field she is comfortable creating passing and scoring opportunities for her team. Though she’s just a freshman, she also has a very practical plan for her continuing education.

“First, I want to attend Germanna and then transfer to a four-year college,” said Estes. “So far I like James Madison University.”

Her excellent grades and soccer skills should produce a wealth of opportunities over the next three years.

“My advice to a young girl beginning soccer would be to work hard, learn from your coaches and never give up,” said Estes. “My travel coach, Beth Healy, and Cyclones head coach, Mike Garrett, have really helped me become a better player.”

The Cyclones (1-1 overall, 1-1 Conference 27) will host King George on Wednesday.