After his teammate Armand Jeffris was clipped inside Lake Braddock’s goal box, prompting a penalty kick, Oakton’s senior midfielder Patrick Moore didn’t ask to take the potential game-winning penalty in sudden death overtime during Wednesday night’s Virginia AAA Northern Region boys’ soccer semifinal against the Bruins. Nor was he told to take it.
He just did it. And after all of his teammates cleared out of Moore’s way, and the home crowd fell hush-silent, Moore delivered a season-saving rocket into the right corner of the net, lifting the Cougars to a 3-2 victory and a place in Friday night’s Northern Region championship game.
“It’s my PK. I’ve been taking them the whole season,” Moore said. “If anyone was going to decide the game, I wanted to decide it myself.”
Wednesday night’s game resembled the 3-3 draw these two teams played to in early April — and both squads returned home disappointed that night. That would not be the case for the two unbeatens the second time around. After Lake Braddock (11-1-5) struck first eight minutes in — Ricky Crump drilled a loose ball in front of the net after a Zack Hopkins throw-in made it 1-0 — Oakton responded when Jeffris dribbled around a charging Bruins goalkeeper and connected on an open net at the halfway mark of the first half.
Oakton assumed control just 10 minutes into the second half, when senior Jared Schulman took a pass through a seam the left side of the field and converted a goal with his left foot from about 10 yards out. But a few minutes later, Hopkins did what he has done all season off set pieces (one goal, 18 assists), drilling a direct kick at the top of Oakton’s box to tie the game and heighten the drama down the stretch. Both teams had chances late; Lake Braddock forward Aaron Hollins hit the cross bar on a line-drive kick with just 11 minutes remaining, and at the four-minute mark, Oakton couldn’t capitalize on an open look after a Jeffris cross.
Moore has made conscious strides to become Oakton’s unquestioned leader this season, including by strengthening his vocal direction of the team — but he didn’t need to say anything a few minutes into the sudden death period.
“Patrick’s great at PKs. I was expecting him to take it. I was just excited to get one [for Moore],” Jeffris said. “It just felt so great to go to states. Because we’ve been training so hard for this, and waiting for this for a while now.”
In the other Northern Region semifinal, Mount Vernon senior defender Miguel Luna scored a back-post goal off a cross with about three minutes remaining in the win over W.T. Woodson. It was the seventh straight victory for the Majors (11-7-2), which entered halftime embattled in a 1-1 tie with the Cavaliers (15-4) and in need of changing the momentum, Mount Vernon Coach Anthony Garza said. Patrick Sedjro added a goal for the Majors.
“Monumental win . . . I told the boys at halftime that we had to step up to the plate,” Mount Vernon Coach Anthony Garza said, adding that an eighth straight win Friday night against Oakton will be among the toughest tests of the season for his club. “Oakton’s a very good team. They’re undefeated, they’re number one in the state. . . . we’re just hoping we can answer the call.”
In the AAA Northwest Region semifinals Wednesday, host Forest Park beat Patrick Henry, 5-3 in penalty kicks, to advance to the Friday’s final against Broad Run, 2-0 winners over visiting Mountain View.
Forest Park (15-2-2) rallied from a 1-0 deficit after Patrick Henry scored in the first five minutes of the match, earning the equalizer after freshman Brandon Clegg scored with 20 minutes remaining in regulation. After both teams went scoreless in overtime, Forest Park goalkeeper CJ Chambers made a save on Patrick Henry’s first penalty kick, and the Bruins converted on all five of their ensuing tries. Clegg nailed the final kick to seal the win and send Forest Park to its first state tournament appearance since 2007.
“Both teams were just exhausted,” Forest Park Coach Justin Joswick said. “[Our team is] on cloud nine right now. They’re just going with the flow.”
Broad Run (12-3-3) won its fourth straight game Wednesday, taking a 1-0 lead against Mountain View after senior Salar Samimi scored seven minutes into the match. The Spartans dodged a close call in the second half when Mountain View, down a man after a red card was assessed with about 10 minutes left, hit the crossbar on a penalty kick with just eight minutes remaining in the game. Senior Alexio Chavez added the insurance goal for Broad Run with about six minutes left.
“[Mountain View] was working like its season was on the line,” Broad Run Coach Jon Hicks said. “I’m proud of our boys. It’s new territory for us.”