AA Boys' Soccer

Blacksburg Tops Potomac Falls in 4th Overtime to Win Championship

Asa Fox, whose goal gave Potomac Falls a 2-1 lead with less than two minutes to play in the second half, is consoled as he covers up following a sudden-death loss to Blacksburg.
Asa Fox, whose goal gave Potomac Falls a 2-1 lead with less than two minutes to play in the second half, is consoled as he covers up following a sudden-death loss to Blacksburg. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)
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By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 8, 2009

RADFORD, Va., June 7 -- The Potomac Falls players sat strewn across the field, shirts pulled over their faces, hands over their eyes. The celebration had started on the other end of the field Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't theirs.

A title that had been so close -- just three seconds away -- had suddenly been ripped away with 3 minutes 38 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime period on a golden goal from Blacksburg's Allistair Moore in the Virginia AA state championship.

Every ounce of energy the Panthers could summon was left on the field, and the dismay of a 3-2 loss was setting in.

For 12 victorious games Potomac Falls had gone on a remarkable journey from the fourth-place team in the Dulles District to the state title game.

And just as they had come from seemingly nowhere to get to Radford University, so too had they emerged in the late stages of the championship game to make it into a contest.

With less than two minutes remaining, it seemed as if Potomac Falls (17-6-1) had gotten the strike that would bring it win number 13 and a second state title in the past four seasons.

Midfielder Conor Shanosky got to a ball just inside his own half and chipped a pass to a running Asa Fox, and the senior who has been such a dangerous finisher in the postseason made no mistake, burying a shot to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

But with three seconds to play in the game, the cruel face of a sport that can change on one turn, pass or shot, showed itself.

Moore, the Region IV player of the year who will play for Virginia Tech, turned inside the Panthers 18-yard box and played a ball across the top of the area.

The ball rolled through the box until it was met by Bruins junior Serxho Hasa, who reached it in full stride and crushed a shot into the net, tying the score at two and setting off a celebration in a Blacksburg-dominated crowd.

"It was heartbreaking," Fox said. "There's not much to say. We were literally three seconds away from it, but we just broke down and just had that one mental lapse that caused us the tie."

The Panthers struggled for much of the first 65 minutes, but with 16 minutes to play, sophomore Eddie Funes changed the game.

Funes took the ball near 35 yards out and worked his way to the goal, dribbling through four defenders before smacking a shot past the Blacksburg goalkeeper to tie the game.

The goal resurrected the confidence of a Potomac Falls team that had rarely trailed during the course of its 12-game winning streak over the past month. And suddenly Blacksburg (22-2) found itself on its heels with the Panthers pressing forward.

But the last-second shot would save the Bruins, and Moore ended it with his strike in the final overtime.

"It hurts now," Fox said. "But when we look back in a little bit we'll see we had a great run at the end of the season, we played really well and we came together as a team in the end."

Blacksburg 3, Potomac Falls 2 Déja Vu: In 2005, Potomac Falls gave up a lead to Blacksburg in the state semifinals with 37 seconds remaining and eventually lost in penalty kicks. Big Run: On April 28, Potomac Falls was 6-5-1 and had lost three of its past six. It would not lose again until yesterday, outscoring opponents, 37-7, during a 12-game winning streak.

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