A day rarely goes by without Lauren Brower talking soccer with her mom, Nicole, but Tuesday, the sport that serves as a bonding tool for mother and daughter created a house divided of sorts.
On one sideline, Tuscarora girls’ soccer Coach Nicole Brower paced back and forth while offering instruction to her third-ranked Huskies. Not too far away in the center of the action was her daughter, Lauren, manning the midfield position for No. 7 Stone Bridge in a pivotal Virginia Conference 14 contest.
While neither side held back in what was a physical battle between equally matched foes, both Browers left the field content with the effort of their teams following a 0-0 tie in Leesburg.
“It was a little weird but not as bad as I thought it might be playing against my mom’s team,” Lauren Brower said. “She just joked and told me she’d root for me but not for my team.”
“I’m glad it’s over,” Nicole Brower said with a relieved smile. “The last few weeks have been awkward because we knew this game was coming up. But I guess a tie works well for both of us.”
The teams entered their first-ever meeting having totaled 17 shutouts between them, making the ultimate outcome far from a surprise. Tuscarora (8-1-2, 1-1-2 in Conference 14) flexed its defensive prowess early on by holding the Bulldogs without a shot for the first 25 minutes of the contest. But Stone Bridge goalie Hailey Corpe kept her team in contention with four of her eight saves on the night behind aggressive play in the box.
Midway through the second half, the Huskies found an opening on a pinpoint cross that found its way to Kennedy Jakubek, who was positioned just to the right of the goal. But the junior forward misjudged the power behind her shot as it sailed over the net.
“I was trying to shoot it low and into the corner, but I guess I panicked because it went high and over the goal,” Jakubek said. “It was disappointing because we had chances and we just couldn’t finish.”
The Bulldogs (8-1-1, 0-0-1) encountered similar struggles on the offensive end, failing to convert on their seven shots on goal. Emily Fox, the team’s leading scorer, worked to find openings in the middle, but they were either thwarted by the Huskies sound defenders or strong saves by sophomore Courtenay Kaplan.
Still, both teams found silver linings in the knotted score. Nicole Brower said she was pleased with the Huskies rediscovering the intensity that sparked them to an 8-0 start before recording a tie and loss in their prior two games. Meanwhile, both Lauren Brower and Fox lauded the resilience of the young yet developing Bulldogs.
“The Chantilly loss was kind of a wake-up call, and even though we could have finished our shots better tonight, we saw improvements from the last game,” Fox said.