By B.J. Koubaroulis
Oakton's Ashley Abed picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time this spring. Last night she was instrumental in helping the Cougars limit visiting Robinson to its second-lowest scoring output this season en route to a 15-7 victory in the Northern Region final.
It was the first region championship for 10th-ranked Oakton since 1998 and the first time the Cougars won the title in four consecutive final appearances. It was also the sixth region final appearance for Oakton in eight years.
"If it didn't go this way," Oakton Coach Jean Counts said, "I would think the world was off its axis. It just feels like the right thing."
Oakton (15-1), which led 9-2 at halftime, enters next week's state tournament as the region's top seed. Both Oakton and Robinson (11-6) will be at home for the first round.
Robinson's top offensive player, senior midfielder Marnie Commins, scored six goals in the Rams' semifinal win over Chantilly Monday. Abed helped hold Commins to three goals and consistently interrupted the Rams' offensive flow. Abed also caused three turnovers.
"I wanted it so bad. Before the game I said 'I'm not losing again,' " said Abed, who as a star forward on the basketball team lost to Edison in overtime, 60-59, in the region final this season.
"She didn't even know basic rules," Counts said of Abed, who became a starter on the lacrosse team two games into the season. "She is so humble to come out here and do this. . . . This is an experienced program."
Oakton senior midfielder Hillary Freund scored three goals and added three assists. Junior midfielder Ashley Kimener scored three goals, and Victoria Cable scored four goals. Seven Cougars scored, and nine of their goals were assisted.
Robinson Boys Win
Senior attackman Danny Fritz had a front-row seat when his teammate, all-American Matt Kugler, etched his name into Robinson high school lacrosse lore as he scored five goals in a state championship victory last season.
Fritz carved his own spot last night by scoring five goals to lift No. 10 Robinson to a 15-8 victory over Westfield in the Northern Region final at Oakton.
The win gave Robinson (15-2) its eighth region title and earned the defending state champions the No. 1 seed in next week's state tournament. It was the third time this season Robinson defeated Westfield (13-5).
Fritz "missed the playoffs last year because he broke his collarbone," Robinson Coach Justin Fitzgerald said. "He worked hard in the offseason, and right before tryouts [this season], he had to have pins put in his pinkie finger."
Fritz scored three goals in the second quarter to help the Rams outscore the Bulldogs 7-1 in the period. He led a Robinson attack that outshot Westfield 29-24 and won the faceoff battle, 14-13.
"I wouldn't expect myself from a couple of months ago being injured to be where I am today," Fritz said.
"It's great to have him back," said Kugler, who recorded four assists. "To see him come back from the injury and play well tonight, I couldn't be happier for him."