Soccer Notebook

Battlefield Is Blowing Away Teams Thanks to New Scheme

Battlefield junior Sahar Aflaki is one of the area's leading scorers, having tallied 13 goals in her team's 13 games.
Battlefield junior Sahar Aflaki is one of the area's leading scorers, having tallied 13 goals in her team's 13 games. (By Joel Richardson For The Washington Post)
By B.J. Koubaroulis and Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 7, 2009

After a 4-0 loss to Woodbridge on March 24, Battlefield Coach Kevin Hilton reshaped his side.

"We used to run a flat four, but we just don't have the personnel to run that this year," Hilton said.

The Bobcats, who used a 4-4-2 formation to score 93 goals in last season's run to the Virginia AAA girls' final, made a slight defensive shift to a diamond-shaped back line, moving sophomore Nicole Jeffries from center back to sweeper and junior center back Abby Lee to the left back position.

The slight defensive shift has helped No. 9 Battlefield (10-2-1, 4-0 Cedar Run District) outscore its past nine opponents 36-3.

In tomorrow's key district home game against Loudoun Valley (10-1, 4-0), Battlefield can clinch the top seed in the upcoming district tournament. Battlefield defeated Loudoun Valley, 2-1, last week, but it was considered a nonconference game because the teams play twice this season. Cedar Run District rules say that if teams play twice, only the second meeting counts toward conference records and seeding.

The game will pit two of the area's top scorers in Battlefield junior Sahar Aflaki (13 goals) and Loudoun Valley junior Ashley Manning, a Virginia Tech recruit who is the school's all-time leading scorer.

Grant Leading the Way

Senior Ashley Grant's knowledge of the game gives No. 10 Brentsville a shot at its sixth straight district title, Tigers Coach Sean Weddel said.

"Her skill set is all-encompassing," Weddel said. "She knows where to put herself at to score a goal or where to put herself at to set up a teammate."

Grant, who has accepted a 75 percent scholarship to play at Virginia Commonwealth next year, has scored 11 goals and seven assists for Brentsville (12-0, 12-0 Virginia AA Northwestern District).

Grant broke the school's all-time scoring record last year and had 85 career goals heading into last night's home game against Handley.

Favored Robinson Scuffles

Despite losing some key components from last year's team that advanced to the Virginia AAA boys' championship game, including All-Met Player of the Year Seth Goldman, No. 4 Robinson entered this season considered by many to be the team to beat in the Northern Region.

A commanding 3-1 victory over then-No. 1 Westfield on March 27 seemed to solidify those preseason notions. But since that win, the Rams have struggled to distance themselves from the pack.

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