Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Girls' Soccer Regionals

Stone Bridge Tops West Springfield
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, May 21, 2008; E07

Read the Loudoun Extra Version of this story

Stone Bridge senior forward Krysti Rodriguez sprinted down the left sideline, cut up the field and then pulled away, leaving her defender a step behind before finishing a right-footed slow-roller from 20 yards that slipped inside the right post in the 68th minute, giving Stone Bridge a 2-1 victory at West Springfield in last night's first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region girls' soccer tournament.

"It was a lot of pressure, with the game being tied 1-1, I knew I needed to score," said Rodriguez, a junior All-Met who has committed to Hofstra.

No. 5 Stone Bridge (12-4) and No. 7 West Springfield (12-3-2) have spent much of the season ranked among the top three in The Post's Top 10, and each was considered a state title contender.

However, last week's district tournament upsets -- Stone Bridge's Liberty District semifinal loss to Madison and West Springfield's overtime Patriot District championship triumph over No. 2 South County -- forced last night's early first-round elimination game between the two powers, ending West Springfield's season and giving the Bulldogs vindication for their 3-2 season-opening loss to the Spartans.

"I was disappointed with our performance in the district playoffs, but sometimes things happen for a reason," Stone Bridge Coach Rae Ann Taylor said.

Abigail Apistolas, who finished sophomore Maggie Sheirling's high-arcing misfire on a run-through with a well-timed 20-yard boot for a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute, said the district tournament loss, which made Stone Bridge a fourth-seed, "ended up being really good for us. I feel like we've already gotten our tough game out of the way."

Stone Bridge has won three of its past four games heading into Thursday's game against Centreville -- a 2-1 winner over Mount Vernon last night.

West Springfield sophomore midfielder Tina Rader scored her first goal of the season -- a left-footed equalizer from 10 yards out near the right post in the 37th minute-- before Rodriguez's winner.

Woodson, Robinson Win

William and Mary-bound senior midfielder Diana Weigel drilled a 20-yard blast under the crossbar to give W.T. Woodson a 3-2 overtime home victory over Lake Braddock last night, setting up Thursday's 7 p.m. quarterfinal game at top-ranked Robinson -- a 3-0 winner over Edison last night.

The matchup will pit Liberty District Player of the Year Niki Mercier (11 goals), junior forward Lindsay Ottavio (18 goals) and the fourth-ranked Cavaliers' high-powered offense (3.75 goals per game) against the No. 1 Rams (15-1) and goalkeeper Katherine Yount.

Yount, the Concorde District Player of the Year, has allowed only five total goals with 10 shutouts, including a 2-0 victory over Woodson on March 12.

The Rams, in search of their ninth region title since 1984, previously won the region in 2002. Woodson is 12-2-2.

South County Hat Trick

Sophomore forward Alex Reed scored three goals in South County's 5-3 victory over McLean last night at Madison.

Reed's first hat trick of the season helped the second-ranked Stallions (13-1-2) advance to Thursday's 7 p.m. home quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Chantilly -- a 1-0 winner at Yorktown last night.

Chantilly junior Kristen Melchiori finished junior midfielder Kaitlyn Manley's first-half setup to force a rematch of the teams' 1-1 tie on April 1.

The Chargers (9-4-2) had a potential winning goal waved off in the final five seconds of the regular-season matchup with the Stallions.

"I think it will be [physical]," South County Coach Maureen Saale said. "Both teams are going to be ready for each other."

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