By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, June 8, 2009
Brittany Griel had waited long enough. Over the past two years, she'd ripped through the regular season and most of the playoffs undefeated, only to lose in the championship games of five separate postseason tournaments.
The mental weight of those disappointments gave the Chantilly senior plenty of fuel last night in the Virginia AAA championship at Westfield, and made the most of it by scoring a game-high five goals and adding an assist as the No. 3 Chargers overpowered Robinson, 13-4, and finally grabbed hold of an elusive postseason banner.
"We had so much anger and fight in us," said Griel, an All-Met. "That's what the final score is all about."
The Chargers (21-2), whose only two losses this season were to Robinson in the Concorde District and Northern Region finals, attacked from the opening draw. They scored seven straight goals in the first 10 minutes. Senior Erin Robertson had two goals and Griel added three more during the run.
Meanwhile, the Rams (17-4) didn't resemble the precise unit they were just a week ago. They put the ball on the ground often, which allowed Chantilly to spend nearly every minute of the first half on the attack.
Robinson didn't score until 12 minutes 21 seconds were left in the first half, a shot from directly in front of the goal by Courtney Coleman. The Rams trailed 9-1 at the break.
"It just wasn't there today," Robinson senior Tory Barron said through tears. "I know they wanted it, but we wanted it so bad, too."
The second half didn't get much better for Robinson. Chantilly protected the ball -- something it didn't do well down the stretch in its two losses -- and was patient on offense. On several occasions, the Chargers patiently held the ball for two- and three-minute spans while a deflated Robinson team failed to apply meaningful pressure.
Robinson managed three goals over the final eight minutes -- Coleman whisked in her second of the game and Tory Barron and Katie McHugh added one apiece -- but the game had already been decided by that point.
When the final horn sounded, some of the Chargers threw their sticks into the air while others doused each other with Gatorade, proud to have finally clinched the program's first state championship.
"Our fingers aren't empty anymore," senior Kim Patten yelled to her teammates.
"I could not ask for a better end to my career," Griel added. "It's what we worked so hard for. It's like an out-of-body experience right now."
Chantilly 13, Robinson 4 New Era: Chantilly's victory marked the first time in the four-year history of the official Virginia High School League state championships that a team besides Oakton won. Blockade: Senior goalkeeper Heather Meraw saw 13 shots and had six saves, including two stuffs from point-blank range.