Just a few days removed from an 8-0 loss to No. 7 W.T. Woodson, Herndon’s girls’ soccer players knew they needed to bounce back in a big way. But the next game on the schedule – an April 3 road contest against Virginia Conference 5 rival Oakton — didn’t exactly incite confidence for the Hornets.
The last time Herndon had defeated a Conference 5 (or traditional Concorde District) team — a 1-0 defeat of Oakton on May 8, 2003 — many of the current Herndon players were toddlers. Fifty-nine games and nearly 11 years later, the lengthy losing streak had started to chip away at the team’s confidence.
“It was habitual and annoying because we’d do pretty well in non-district games and then once we got to district, we would always lose,” senior captain Haley Brazier said. “After a while, you somewhat started to accept that’s the way it was, but at the same time as a senior, I really wanted to get a win.”
The determination of Brazier and fellow senior captain Katie Pease, along with Herndon’s wide collection of talent at each position, helped produce an emotional 3-2 win against the Cougars.
Tears flowed and plenty of hugs were exchanged in the aftermath of the once-elusive feat. On the bus ride home, Pease gave a brief speech thanking her teammates for helping ensure that their career wouldn’t end with a gaping void.
“I don’t think I ever realized just how frustrating all the losses were until we won finally that district game,” Brazier said.
With seven freshmen and five sophomores, Herndon entered the season as one of the area’s youngest teams. But the handful of new faces have served to invigorate the Hornets (3-3-1) with fresh talent and a quickly evolving chemistry.
“During tryouts I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh, all these girls are amazing.’ I didn’t want any of them to get cut,” Pease said. “Everyone works hard, brings a lot of energy and we’ve got a nice balance of skills on this team.”
Brazier is an all-conference defender while Pease sparks the team on offense, but according to Herndon Coach Nick Stames, the Hornets don’t necessarily boast one or two star players. Freshman Dora Drezga has netted several goals while returning sophomore midfielder Victoria Parodi has shown marked improvement in her second year of varsity play.
“I tell the girls that we may not be the most talened team but we can certainly work hard enough to compete every game,” Stames said. “We’ve been defending pretty well and when you mix that with a good work ethic and some talent, you have a nice recipe for success.”
After dropping their last two games to Westfield and South County, the Hornets hope to rediscover some of their early defensive fortitude and turn one of their final three conference games into a win.
“That first win was special and we’ll never forget it,” Brazier said. “Now that we’ve done it once, we want to do it again and finish out the year strong.”
Colleen Gawkins netted four goals in Battlefield’s win against Hylton on Friday, which followed Kayla Hamric’s four goal-performance three days earlier against Freedom-Woodbridge. . . . Tuscarora has now outscored its opponents, 23-0. The Huskies will host No. 2 Broad Run on Tuesday. . . . Broad Run allowed its first goal of the season in a 1-1 tie with Potomac Falls on Friday. . . . Then-No. 10 Loudoun County knocked off then-No. 2 Briar Woods, 3-2, in overtime. . . . Osbourn Park followed up its upset of then-No. 6 Woodbridge by defeating then-No. 4 Forest Park on Friday. . . . No. 7 W.T. Woodson will travel to face No. 8 Westfield on Tuesday. . . . No teams will play this week due to spring break.
1. Battlefield (6-0) LW: 1
2. Broad Run (6-0-1) LW: 3
3. Tuscarora (7-0) LW: 7
4. Briar Woods (4-1) LW: 2
5. Forest Park (5-2) LW: 4
6. Chantilly (4-2) LW: 5
7. W.T. Woodson (6-1) LW: 6
8. Westfield (4-1) LW: 8
9. Loudoun County (6-2) LW: 10
10. Yorktown (5-1) LW: 9
Records through Tuesday.