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South County, Westfield to battle in Northern Region field hockey championship as both advance from semifinals

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There were a lot of reasons why South County senior midfielder Kaylee Taillonmight not have been in position Monday night to score two goals off rebounds to lead her team to a 2-1 overtime win over Fairfax in the Virginia AAA Northern Region semifinals at Washington-Lee.

Those reasons would be her first concussion two years ago, her second concussion last spring and her third concussion this season, all suffered while playing field hockey. It’s a string of bad luck serious enough to maybe consider turning in that No. 13 jersey of hers. Taillon’s most recent concussion occurred during warmups before a game and knocked her out of commission for about a month before she rejoined the Stallions for the region tournament.

Thanks to her timely return, South County (17-5) will advance to face No. 5 Westfield (19-2) in the region final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Washington-Lee. Westfield advanced with a 1-0 semifinal win over defending region champion Lake Braddock. By winning Monday night, both South County and Westfield have qualified for the state tournament.

Until upending Fairfax and helping her team earn its second state tournament berth in three years, Taillon had scored one goal all season. There was a crowd in front of the cage each time she padded that total Monday night, with her first goal coming about six minutes into the game and the second about five minutes into overtime.

Both followed caroms off the goalkeeper, a point of emphasis in recent South County practices.

“You never really know until you hear that sound on the backboard,” Taillon said of whether she knew the shots were true upon firing. “Once you hear that sound, you just drop to the ground you’re so happy.”

Added South County Coach Leah Conte, whose team won the 2009 region tournament, “She has busted her butt in the last two weeks to come back and really has shown her skills and made it happen tonight.”

Senior Tracy Neill scored the Fairfax goal, late in the first half. This marked the third consecutive season that South County has eliminated Fairfax (14-7) from the region tournament.

Westfield junior Meghan Winesett scored less than two minutes into the second half, lifting in a shot for her 23rd goal of the season, the only scoring her team needed.

“It was a beautiful goal,” Westfield Coach Starr Karl said. “She’s very selfless. She gives up the ball a lot when she shouldn’t give up the ball. That’s the kind of kid you want out in the middle of your field to help run the field and make good decisions dispersing the ball.”

Westfield, which won the region title in 2006 and lost to Lake Braddock (17-4) in the 2008 final, has beaten region finalist South County twice this season, 1-0 on Aug. 27 and 3-0 on Sept. 23.

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