As the only Virginia AAA Northern Region girls’ soccer team without a loss or tie, Westfield has shown flashes of dominance, defeating three ranked squads while outscoring its opponents by a total of 21-9. With success has come a strong dose of resilience. Just when it seems a rival has Westfield on the ropes, the No. 2 Bulldogs have responded.
After serving as the offensive aggressor during the first half of Monday’s Concorde District matchup, No. 8 Robinson likely felt in control against the visiting Bulldogs. But thanks to a halftime adjustment as well as goals from Brittany Fary and Tori Donahue, Westfield emerged with a 2-1 win in Burke.
Though Bulldogs Coach Kristi Williams declined to share exactly what that adjustment was, saying with a smile that she “couldn’t share all of our secrets,” the fruit of her fine-tuning was clear in the final 40 minutes.
“We pushed more on offense and our defensive pressure was higher,” said Donahue, whose goal in the 65th minute proved to be the game-winner. “Once we were able to score, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and we got control of the game.”
At the outset, Robinson (6-3-1, 0-2) controlled possession, outshooting the Bulldogs, 6-3, and nearly scoring on a Haley Roberson header that sailed just left of the post. The scoreless tie was broken up in the 48th minute by Fary , who netted her team-high 10th goal for Westfield (8-0, 2-0) on a left-footed shot from 20 yards.
About 17 minutes later, Donahue padded the Bulldogs’ lead with a rebound score following a scramble off a corner kick.
Katherine Bukovsky “kicked a perfect ball on the corner and after the ball skimmed off the top of someone’s head, I was all alone in the middle for a shot,” Donahue said. “I guess it was a little bit of being in the right place at the right time.”
Less than a minute later, Robinson responded as Katia Rabinowitch booted a 10-yard shot from the left side into the net, cutting the deficit to 2-1. A furious final 10 minutes saw Robinson nearly score again on a long pass into the 18-yard box , but the opportunity was knocked away by Westfield’s aggressive defenders.
The road ahead will remain daunting for the Bulldogs, who play three games in five days this week before hosting No. 4 Chantilly on April 25. For Williams, it’s yet another opportunity for her team to respond.
“I’m okay that we’re not perfect right now,” Williams said. “Each district game is an opportunity to get better. We’ve been playing well and if we keep fighting and working to get better, the right results will continue to come.”