Girls’ soccer: Battlefield beats Freedom-South Riding, 1-0
By James Wagner,
It was a gritty defensive effort, one that the seventh-ranked Battlefield Bobcats love. With every Freedom-South Riding attack, Battlefield’s talented defenders snatched the ball away, cleared or saved it.
Led by strong performances by senior Sammie Trone, juniors Stephanie Bruns and Alexa Wagoner, freshman Lauren Ciccone and goalkeeper Taylor Kerxton, Battlefield avenged an earlier loss to No. 6 Freedom-South Riding, winning, 1-0, in a key Virginia AAA Cedar Run game in Haymarket on Friday evening.
“We stayed more compact this time,” said Wagoner, an Iona recruit. “Last time, we were letting them split and stuff. And everybody worked back, not just the defense, all eleven of us.”
Junior forward Sarai Arbus scored the game’s lone goal in the 11th minute when she took advantage of a defensive lapse and fired a shot from the top of the penalty box.
From there, the Battlefield defense clamped down. Kerxton, a Wake Forest recruit, made smart plays and quick saves on balls. Wagoner and Bruns had several key takeaways to end threats by Freedom-South Riding (11-1-2, 5-0-1). They even withstood a near-six minute stretch in which they were a player down to close the victory.
“We lost a few good players [from last season],” Wagoner said. “And we got some good new ones, three came in from different schools, and we got some good freshmen. So I think we’re on the same page. Hopefully we can get as far.”
After tearing through its regular season schedule last spring, Battlefield (10-1-2, 6-1-2) surprised some by reaching the AAA semifinals, playing its closest games in the playoffs. This season – in a revamped Cedar District that added tough teams such as Broad Run (winners of the past four AA titles), Freedom-South Riding (from the AA Dulles District) and new school Patriot – the Bobcats have already faced several tests throughout the season. It’s preparation that may help them make an even deeper run in the playoffs.
“Our district is a lot better this year, obviously,” Wagoner said. “So I think we’re getting that competition in this year early. So it may be better.”