Girls’ soccer: Briar Woods edges Broad Run on Ziegler’s goal to win Conference 14 title

McKensey Ziegler didn’t know how much time was left and, frankly, she didn’t care.

The Briar Woods forward and her teammates had spent the entire second half of Monday’s girls’ soccer game at Broad Run executing their offense, relentlessly pressuring the backfield and creating a number of chances on goal. But although the Falcons had peppered Broad Run’s goal with 15 shot attempts, Ziegler was in search of a different opportunity, one that would provide her team’s relentless defense with a counterattacking opportunity.

In the game’s 79th minute, Ziegler saw her opening, stealing a backfield pass before dribbling to the left side of the goal and firing a shot into the net to seal a 1-0 win in Ashburn. The outcome wrapped up the Conference 14 regular season title for the Falcons and marked the second straight game-winner for Ziegler, who scored in the final two minutes of a May 9 win against Tuscarora.

“I noticed that the defender always played the ball to the outside back, so I anticipated the play and once I got the ball, it was a [one-on-one] situation like we practice all the time,” Ziegler said. “I didn’t know exactly how much time was left but I knew I didn’t want to run around for 10 more minutes in overtime.”

The first meeting between these two teams had ended in that fashion as they played to a 2-2 tie on May 7, setting up Monday’s pivotal matchup with the top seed in the upcoming Conference 14 tournament on the line.

With Broad Run (9-2-4, 3-2-4) using powerful passes and shots to move downfield in the first half, Briar Woods’s defense clamped down to keep the score knotted at zero. The Spartans nearly struck first just before halftime on a shot in front of the goal, but Falcons defender Kira Warner swooped in along the right goalpost to clear the attempt.

After discussing a more aggressive offensive approach in the second half, the Falcons (9-2-1, 6-1-1) wasted little time implementing it, firing five shots on goal in the first 11 minutes. Broad Run goalie Maddy Kopecky was impenetrable, leaping andsprawling out for 12 saves.

“I was proud of how persistent and relentless we were in the second half, even with their goalie doing a great job,” Falcons Coach Ann Vierkorn said. “These girls have each other’s back and that played into us keeping the ball on their half of the field.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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