Stone Bridge senior midfielder Gracie DeGooyer hasn’t had many scoring opportunities during her final high school season. Since the beginning of the year, the soon-to-be Tennessee Volunteer has been sidelined with an accessory navicular bone in her right foot. The pain from itcan become unbearable because of inflammation and swelling that accompanies it.
Participating in just her third game of the season, against Deep Run in the Virginia 5A state semifinals at Lake Braddock, DeGooyer made the most of an ever-important opportunity affordedher. In the 76th minute, with both teams scoreless, DeGooyer, wearing a black brace, reached her affected right foot out to redirect a pass from freshman Alexandra Addington. The ball bounced inside the lower left side of the goal, ultimately giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 win. The victory advanced Stone Bridge (17-4-1) to Sunday’s 5A championship game, where it will play Briar Woods.
“I looked at the clock saw it was six minutes left,” DeGooyer said. “I said, ‘We have to get one in.’ ”
DeGooyer isn’t pain-free, though the brace helps alleviate it. But she said it’s still hard to run and cut, with the brace affecting her agility.
With a spot in the state championship on the line, DeGooyer, who narrowly missed a shot in the 71st minute, wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass her by.
“It was awesome, she definitely deserved it,” freshman midfielder Emily Fox said.
Stone Bridge controlled possession throughout the game, taking 19 shots to Deep Run’s nine. However, the Wildcats were stingy in front of the goal and didn’t surrender many quality looks until DeGooyer’s goal.
●BRIAR WOODS 2, HICKORY 1: Similarly in the second game of the semifinals, Briar Woods (15-2-1) needed a late goal to defeat Hickory. In the 79th minute, the Falcons went on the attack, with junior defender Nikki Batt playing the ball from the left sideline to the center of the field. Drawing the defense’s attention, senior forward McKensey Ziegler let the ball go through her legs so that freshman forward Allyson Brown would have a good look. Brown took the shot and scored, giving the Falcons the win. With five total shots on goal, Brown kept a mentality that one would eventually hit the back of the net.
“I wish I finished my other ones but it made it more exciting to score at the end,” Brown said. “My teammates kept telling me it’s going to come. We had to stay in the game. I knew we would finish it.”
Briar Woods scored its first goal in the game’s second minute, with Ziegler flicking the ball up to senior forward Emma Quirk, who headed it in. As a team, Briar Woods out-shot Hickory 21-11.
The Falcons and Bulldogs will meet for the fourth time this season on Sunday at Robinson at noon. Stone Bridge took the first meeting but Briar Woods has won the past two, with the most recent going to 10 rounds of penalty kicks in the Virginia 5A North region championship.
“We know how they play, and we’re not going to let them have anything on us,” Brown said.