Warwick's Christian Murphy (white) leads the Raiders with 10 goals.

Warwick's Christian Murphy (white) leads the Raiders with 10 goals. (April 30, 2014)

Surprised? Warwick boys soccer coach Michael Norton can’t say that he is, even if his Raiders are the only undefeated Group 5A team in the 757.

The pieces, he believed, were in place. Fifteen players are either juniors or seniors, and there is more depth than in years past. Warwick has a prolific scorer (forward Christian Murphy, who has 10 goals), but he’s one of 13 players who have found the net at least once.

So here Warwick is, 8-0, and with six of its wins by at least three goals.

“This is my fourth year as coach, and we’ve been building the team,” Norton said. “The eighth-graders then are juniors now, and they’ve been with us a while. I knew we had talent and ability, and I knew it was all coming together.

“I didn’t go in thinking we’d be No. 1 or anything like that, but my goal was to get to conference play and run the table. We want to be the No. 1 seed and go right to the (PenSouth 10 tournament) semis.”

It starts getting real beginning Friday with a trip across the Coleman Bridge to play Gloucester, in what will be the PenSouth opener for both. The Raiders beat the Dukes 3-1 March 28 in a game that didn’t count in the conference standings.

In addition to Gloucester, the Raiders will have a rematch against conference foe Menchville, which they beat 5-2 Monday in a game that did not count in the standings. Both of those games will be on the road, which has added significance because Warwick’s field dimensions are notoriously small.

“We don’t want to slip and fall backwards,” Norton said. “We know Gloucester is looking forward to playing us on their field, which is a much bigger field. My players tell me they’re on Twitter saying, ‘They can’t play in the big spaces.’ But we’ll be fine.”

Also undefeated

On the surface, Gloucester’s softball team having a 12-0 record as May begins should be as expected as pollen. But Dukes coach Red Lindsay saw something of a perfect storm coming into this season, one that could mean trouble.

In the past, he’s had experience somewhere, either with pitching or in the field (or both). Now, he has a sophomore in the circle and youth behind her.

“It’s been a long time since we had that combination of a young team and young pitcher,” Lindsay said. “When Stephanie (Coates) was a freshman, we had a veteran team. When Taylor (Distefano) and Makayla (Jenkins) were young, we had a veteran team.

“Now, we have a young pitcher and a young team. So it has been a pleasant surprise that everyone has done so well. One of our goals every year is to play above our potential.”

Sophomore pitcher Morgan Haywood has won all 12 of her decisions. She hasn’t been as dominant as those who preceded her, but the offense has covered her by averaging 12 runs per game.

Penn Relays

PD highlights from last week’s Penn Relays in Philadelphia:

Denbigh’s Darius Banks finished fourth in the long jump at 23 feet, 5 ¼ inches. That was an inch off the winning distance.

Phoebus’ boys won their heats in the 1,600-meter relay and the small-school 400-meter relay. The 400 team was Jomari Becnel, Darius Jones, Charles Graham and Dartrez Thompson. In the 1,600 relay, with Ronell Jackson replacing Becnel, Phoebus finished fourth at 42.69.

Phoebus’ girls also won their heats in those two relays. Both girls teams were made up of Katia Pierce, Amira Aduma, Twanika Washington and Carolyn Brown. In the small-school 400 final, Phoebus was eighth.

Hampton’s girls won their large-school 400 relay trial. The team was Khoi Banks, Chantel Ray, Tyrah Burrows and Tori Ray.

Extras

Menchville basketball guard Richard Washington picked up his first scholarship offer Monday from Radford University. Washington, a rising senior, was the Monarchs’ leading scorer last season at 13.4 points per game. …

Kecoughtan has coaching vacancies in girls basketball and volleyball. The positions close Friday. Letters of interest should be sent to athletic director Lee Martin at wmartin@hampton.k12.va.us.