Lee junior midfielder Meghan Cox’s pass from the right wing was meant for no one other than junior forward Daniela Neves. In fact, no one else could have reached it. In one motion, Cox chipped the pass in front of the Edison goal and Neves drilled it home for a goal on Tuesday.
Growing up in Springfield, Cox and Neves have played soccer together since they were five years old. They played on some of the same youth soccer teams and re-united on the club soccer team as freshmen, carpooling to faraway practices together. They share lunch and have some of the same classes together.
In the first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament against Edison in Alexandria, that lifelong bond was again on display as Lee won 5-1. Neves assisted on two of Cox’s three goals, and Cox set up Neves’s two goals.
“They have a magnet for the ball for each other,” Lee Coach Nikki Giunta said. “They can read each other really well. I think they kind of have the same soccer mind.”
The two players complement each other incredibly well. Cox, a James Madison recruit, is the strong midfield presence who wins every ball in the air and makes pinpoint passes with ease. Neves, a West Virginia recruit, is the crafty forward who has a strong left foot and isn’t afraid to use it often.
The majority of Neves’s goals this season started off the foot of Cox. “The ball that she sends me, my 15 goals wouldn’t have been anything without Meghan,” Neves said.
The Lancers (7-8-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first 13 minutes behind goals from their talented duo, and cruised to victory. Senior Lilly Payne scored the lone goal for Edison (7-9-1) in the 23rd minute.
Despite spending much of their lives around each other, Cox and Neves are headed their own ways in college — and that was a conscious decision. They weren’t considering the same schools.
“It’s good that we’re going our separate ways and get our own opportunities in college,” Cox said.
Added Neves with a chuckle: “We need our space.”
With the score tied at one, Madison senior Murphy Massey dribbled up the field and slipped the ball to sophomore Kaitlyn Dorka, who stopped and took an 18-yard shot with 40 seconds left in regulation. The ball hit the underside of the top crossbar and bounced in to provide the winning difference for the Warhawks against host Chantilly.
“It was a legit shot,” Madison Coach Grant Massey said. “It was a great shot. It’s not like we got a flunky bounce of the cross bar. There were 40 seconds left. It was crazy.”
It was a surprising win for the Warhawks (8-5-3), a young team that relies heavily on underclassmen but hasn’t lost a game this season by more than two goals.
“The whole year I’ve been trying to preach to these girls that we are competitive with everybody,” he said. “If we could put an effort for a full game, and we still didn’t, it gets the girls believing that they can beat a team that talent-wise we shouldn’t be able to beat.”
Sophomore Susie Carter scored the Warhawks’ first goal.
The Chargers, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, finished with a 13-2-1 record.