Girls’ soccer: Kayla Christian leads Chantilly past Oakton, 4-1

Kayla Christian was equally satisfied and frustrated the first half of Wednesday’s girls’ soccer game against Oakton. From direct lasers at the goal to a nearly perfect loft shot on the right side, the Chantilly sophomore forward found plenty of scoring opportunities – but none found the back of the net.

With halftime just seconds away, Christian finally found the space and result she desired, firing a goal on the run for the final score in the Chargers’ 4-1 win in Chantilly.

“I was getting frustrated because it seemed like nothing would go in for me,” Christian said. “But I knew with my teammates and the passing chemistry we have, I’d get one in eventually.”

Christian wasn’t the only Charger who found room on offense. Fourth-ranked Chantilly outshot Oakton, 19-4, controlling possession from the start behind its speed and sound passing.

“We’re starting to get in our rhythm earlier and attacking quicker, which is good,” Chargers Coach Melissa Bibbee said. “Our speed helps, but these girls have technical speed on the ball and that helps them be comfortable once they get in open space and have looks at the goal.”

Emily Fitzsimmons struck first for Chantilly by scoring off an assist from Kyndall Finch in the game’s sixth minute. About 10 minutes later, Katelyn Hurlock netted her second goal of the year, heading in a shot off an Oakton deflection.

Though Chantilly (7-2-1, 3-0 AAA Concorde District) limited the Cougars’ ability to possess the ball on offense, Kendall Ripetta was able to get behind the Chargers’ defense in the 32nd minute and blast a 25-yard shot into the goal, cutting the Oakton deficit to 2-1.

But Laila Gray, who had faced double teams for much of the half, restored Chantilly’s cushion soon after, breaking free down the left side before knocking a shot into the net. The junior forward went on to provide the assist on Christian’s final goal, which Gray celebrated with an energetic fist pump and leap into the air on a night that required a bit more effort against the Cougars’ physical defense.

“Oakton is usually tough to play and tonight they were right on me, marking me and on my back some,” said Gray, who has eight goals on the year. “So it made me play that much harder and that’s why I was a little more emotional after I scored.”

With the win, the Chargers snapped the six-game unbeaten streak of Oakton (6-2-1, 1-1) and remained undefeated in the Concorde, raising the stakes for their next contest at district rival and second-ranked Westfield on April 25

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