“We’ve been practicing hard since October,” Salvador said. “Everyone plays hard, every day. That’s why we are here.”
Ceron Garcia — who has scored more than half of his team’s goals this season — got Tuscarora (21-2-2) rolling in the fourth minute when he took advantage of a misplay in the back and finished a breakaway. The forward got behind the defense again in the 31st minute, taking a pass from Salvador in stride. He dribbled around the goalie this time, stopped and delivered a deft chip over a pair of defenders and into the net for his 29th goal of the season.
Salvador, the lone senior on the team, had both his goals after halftime, including the tally 47 seconds into the second half that made it 3-0.
“We believe in what we’re doing right now,” Coach Dave Gryder said. “The chances that we’re getting, we’re finishing. I think we feed off the confidence of scoring early.”
— Eric Detweiler
●COLONIAL FORGE 0, THOMAS DALE 0 (4-2 PKs): Following 100 minutes of scoreless play, senior midfielder Kevin Roberts converted the decisive penalty kick that sent the Eagles to the AAA championship at Westfield.
Colonial Forge sophomore goalkeeper Nolan Smith saved two of the first three shots he faced and then seemingly made the game-winning save, which sent the Eagles’ fans charging onto the field. But referees allowed the Knights to take the kick again, judging that Smith had come off his line.
This time, the Thomas Dale effort was good, and Roberts needed to score to send Colonial Forge (21-3) to Saturday’s final.
“I just came up, took a deep breath and put it away,” Roberts said.
Thomas Dale (20-2-1) had several early chances but couldn’t capitalize. After the break, Colonial Forge had the lion’s share of possession but failed to find the back of the net.
The win sets up the fifth game this season between Colonial Forge and Commonwealth District rival Albemarle. The Eagles hold a 3-1 advantage, with the lone loss coming in the region title game.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Smith said.
— Paul Tenorio
●ALBEMARLE 1, LAKE BRADDOCK 1 (3-1 PKs): The Bruins’ surprising run to the Virginia AAA semifinals — which twice included wins in penalty kicks — came to an end in just the same fashion at Westfield, as Albemarle (20-4-1) secured the win in the fourth round of kicks.
Lake Braddock (11-10-1) missed its first three shots, including one off the post.
“There’s tons and tons of heart on the team, tons of heart, you saw it here, you saw guys crying,” said Lake Braddock junior midfielder Zack Hopkins, who scored his team’s lone goal in regulation. “They hate to lose and they do pretty much anything it takes to win. We just came out on the short end of the stick.”
In the 11th minute, a long ball from Jon Mathes down the right sideline found senior Alex Bohn. He beat his defender with a touch and a quick step, then chipped a shot over the Bruins goalkeeper inside the far post to give Albemarle the 1-0 lead.
After halftime, Lake Braddock seemed a different team. The Bruins pressed higher, moved the ball more quickly on the ground and forced the game deeper into their offensive third.
In the 52nd minute, the Bruins equalized when Isaac Villa’s corner kick found Hopkins on the back post, and his powerful header just crossed the goal line before it was cleared by a defender.
“It was a great run, a lot of fun, a great way to end my senior season,” Bruins defender Tyler Durbin said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team and everybody who was a part of this team.”
— Paul Tenorio
●MANASSAS PARK 4, RADFORD 1: Senior midfielder Allan Oliva scored twice in two minutes early in the second half to lift the Cougars into the Virginia A finals at Radford. Sophomore Alex Flores and junior Jeremias Barrios also scored for Manassas Park (21-2-1), which will play for a second consecutive state title against Northampton.
“It feels great to get back,” Oliva said. “We’re not going back without the trophy.”
A four-goal flurry in less than five minutes early in the second half broke up an otherwise uneventful game in which both teams had fairly even possession.
Flores opened the scoring in the 49th minute when he meant to strike a cross from the right side that ended up going over the Radford goalkeeper and just inside the left post for a goal.
“I wasn’t trying to shoot it,” Flores said. “It was really a cross. When I saw it go in I just went crazy.”
Oliva scored his first goal on a free kick in the 52nd minute, then after a Radford goal 45 seconds later Oliva scored again in the 53rd minute on a wicked strike from nearly 30 yards out. Barrios’s goal in the 77th minute sealed the win.
— Greg Schimmel
Detweiler and Schimmel reported from Radford, Va.