This time, McHale scored twice and junior Sarah Hardison added a goal and an assist as the Wolverines won convincingly to advance to Saturday’s state title game, where they will play Loudoun County for the fifth time this season.
“We wanted to beat them just to be like, ‘Look we deserved it last year, and we deserve it this year,’ ” McHale said. “Making it 3-0 gets us that revenge kind of thing. We like that.”
Woodgrove (23-0-1) struck early and dominated Blacksburg (22-1) from start to finish in a battle of unbeaten teams.
McHale put the Wolverines ahead to stay in the eighth minute, running on to a flick from Hardison before finishing the breakaway. The North Carolina-Greensboro-bound forward added another goal in the 35th minute off a cross from junior Victoria Perry.
Blacksburg senior goalie Anika Marand made several spectacular saves to keep her team close. But by the time Hardison turned a loose ball in front into her 17th goal of the season 11 minutes into the second half, the Wolverines were well on their way to the state final.
“If they were anticipating the same team that they [beat] last year, they were in for a surprise,” Woodgrove Coach Erin Barrett said. “We had that confidence going in that we knew we were a better team than last year.”
●LOUDOUN COUNTY 1, JEFFERSON FOREST 0: Freshman Allison Littell scored in the 77th minute to put the Raiders into their second Virginia AA final in three years with a semifinal victory over the Cavaliers at Radford University.
Littell’s strike assured Loudoun County one more chance at Woodgrove, which has won the first four meetings between the Dulles District foes this season.
“I knew I had to finish it,” Littell said of the winner. “It was the last three minutes of the game, and we couldn’t go to overtime.”
Loudoun County (18-4-2) controlled play, producing chance after chance, in the second half, but the game seemed headed for overtime until Littell’s goal broke the deadlock and put the Raiders one win from their first state title.
With less than four minutes left, senior Emma Sieber tossed a long throw in and senior forward Allison Bills directed it toward the top of the 18-yard box. After a few caroms in traffic, the bouncing ball found Littell’s foot.
The young midfielder connected solidly on the shot, and the ball sailed over the goalie and into the back of the net, setting off a relieved celebration with her teammates.
“We were knocking at the door quite a bit throughout the game,” Coach Kirk Smith said. “We were going high. We were going wide. Sometimes you just take those goals where it’s bouncing around like that.”