Thursday, May 29, 2008

NR Semifinals

Robinson Wins in Double OT
Barry's Goal Sinks Chantilly; Westfield Edges Centreville
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post

Trying to put away Chantilly in a Virginia AAA Northern Region girls' soccer tournament semifinal last night, Robinson sophomore Audrey Barry kept missing.

In the final 20 minutes of regulation, Barry watched in frustration as shot after shot left her foot for uncharted territory behind the goal, her highlight-reel cutbacks, dribbles and step-throughs unable to result in a goal at South County.

She soon realized what was wrong.

"I was pressing," said Barry, whose confidence began to waiver despite the fact that she has recorded 16 goals and 10 assists this spring. "I didn't know whether to pass or shoot."

What changes did Barry make in finishing a point-blank eight-yarder in the second overtime for a 2-1 victory?

"I just kept pressing," said Barry, who turned off her defender's hip, reeled in the loose ball and restored order for the Rams, who were pushed to the brink despite having beaten Chantilly (10-5-3) twice this spring.

The victory pushed No. 1 Robinson into tomorrow's 5:30 p.m. final at Yorktown against Westfield -- a 3-2 winner over Centreville in last night's other semifinal.

Robinson (17-1) has beaten Westfield (12-3-4) twice, both by scores of 2-1, including in the May 17 Concorde District tournament final.

"We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us, so it's going to come down to who wants it more," Barry said.

Trailing 2-1 in the final 20 minutes of last night's semifinal, Westfield got goals from sophomore reserve forward Jessica Andre (five goals, two assists) and sophomore midfielder Brittany Bonzano (11 goals, five assists).

Bonzano poured in the game-winner in the 70th minute, fighting through a sliding save by the goalkeeper and an extra defender on her hip before pushing a slow-rolling shot into the front left corner.

Westfield was able to advance despite being without its leading scorer, Virginia Commonwealth-bound senior forward Heather Hovanesian (18 goals, eight assists), who tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in last week's quarterfinal.

"We are used to finding Heather, Heather taking [the ball] up and doing something with it, but now we are just hoping for the best and working with what we have," said Westfield's Abby Sams, one of nine Bulldogs who combined for 15 shots -- including 10 on goal.

Three Bulldogs scored, including Sams's 26th-minute equalizer that tied the game at 1 following a 14th-minute hook-up from Centreville's Katie Cramp to Erika Pinto.

Less than a minute later, Centreville's Molly MacDonnell turned a throw-in into a 12-yard floater that gave the Wildcats a 2-1 halftime lead and hope that they could continue to turn their 4-6-2 regular season struggle into their fifth state tournament berth this decade.

The Wildcats' postseason included an upset over No. 5 Stone Bridge last week. They couldn't hold on last night, however, and their season ended at 7-8-2.

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