No. 1 Oakton and No. 2 Lake Braddock draw, 3-3, in boys’ soccer

For as much talent as Lake Braddock sophomore Stephen Durbin possesses, he had to sacrifice his long and lean body in order to score two goals Monday night against a physical and excited Oaktonsquad.

So it was fitting that when a tie game between the top two teams in the area came down to the final seconds of overtime, Durbin had one more play in him that required reckless abandon. He got a breakaway deep inside the Cougars’ zone and was met at the top of the box by Oakton’s charging keeper. The two violently collided, and Durbin stayed down.

But after a foul was awarded to Lake Braddock — with Durbin limping back to the sideline — Oakton’s defensive wall was able to turn away a free kick from 15 yards with eight seconds left, and the top-ranked Cougars did just enough to earn a 3-3 draw against the second-ranked Bruins in a wild Virginia AAA non-district game in Burke.

“I had to put my body on the line for the win,” Durbin said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get that.”

Lake Braddock (3-0-2) struck first after Durbin won position in front of Oakton’s net and headed in a 40-yard free kick from Zack Hopkins.

For a long stretch, it looked as though that might be the only score of the game as Oakton (5-0-1) couldn’t create a break offensively. The Cougars had six shots at the net in the first half — and all of them narrowly missed. Two rolled just left of the post after Lake Braddock’s keeper had come out of the box too deep. Another hit the post off a soft header.

But that all changed 10 minutes into the second half, when Oakton’s Jay Bundren drilled a 40-yard free kick into the top corner, and that was followed a few minutes later by a slicing goal from Armand Jeffris after he split the Lake Braddock defense and beat the Bruins’ keeper low left to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute.

With 14 minutes left, Hopkins unleashed a 30-yard throw in front of the net that was headed in by Jeff Pineda to tie the game at 2-2. Hopkins had another chance to win the game with just under three minutes to play on a free kick, but his 30-yard offering hit the crossbar.

“Just had to keep on fighting,” Oakton junior midfielder Brian McDaid said.

Durbin, who was clutching his hip in the first half and was banged around often in the second, found another opening in front of the Oakton goal late in the first five-minute overtime period and capitalized after the Cougars’ keeper misplayed a jump ball. But McDaid answered when he outhustled the Bruins’ defense on a cross with just two minutes left in the second overtime, heading the ball into the top-left corner for the equalizer.

“We knew we could get it. We’ve scored goals before,” McDaid said. “We would’ve wanted the win there.”

McDaid said “that wasn’t a foul,” on the collision between Durbin and the Oakton goalkeeper. He thought Durbin had dove with his head. Nonetheless, Oakton had to form its wall in order to preserve its unbeaten record. Durbin couldn’t take the kick after being injured. All he could do was watch Hopkins line the potential game-winner off the left side of the wall.

“It’s difficult. You want to win,” Durbin said. “It’s just tough.”

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