Tiernan, Herndon propel Stone Bridge to undefeated finish

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Sunday, June 13, 2010; D05

Stone Bridge's 4-0 victory over Cosby in Saturday's state final at Westfield ended the season for the No. 3 Bulldogs, but it also signaled the start of a new era for the Ashburn power.

Murielle Tiernan and Ashley Herndon -- a freshman tandem that has taken the Virginia AAA soccer landscape by storm, scoring 43 of the Bulldogs' 78 goals this season -- again shined on the big stage.

"It's hard to find one person that can finish, let alone two," said Stone Bridge Coach Joan Windows. "This is just the perfect finish to a good season."

Tiernan found Herndon on a cross in the 47th minute and then Herndon scored again on a breakaway in the 50th minute to push her single-season school record to 29 goals.

"This is exactly what we've been working for since the start of the season," said Herndon, who also scored twice in Friday's 4-0 semifinal victory over Cox.

Stone Bridge took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute on a goal that was officially ruled an own goal. Tiernan sent in a corner kick that connected with a Cosby player's head and rolled into the left corner of the net. Herndon's two-goal explosion pushed the lead to 3-0 and then senior midfielder Sarah Bowers chipped home a deflection off of Cosby's goalkeeper for a 4-0 lead in the 63rd minute.

Stone Bridge (21-0-2), which won the Virginia AA title in 2005, won its first AAA title and finished the season undefeated.

The Bulldogs pressured Cosby (19-3-1) early as All-Met Jennifer Skogerboe, a Connecticut recruit, controlled the middle of the field and the pace while strong-legged defender Emily Fredrikson pushed the tempo with her power from the back line. That allowed Herndon and Tiernan to test Cosby's goalkeeper, combining for four of Stone Bridge's eight first-half shots.

The Bulldogs' defense was able to neutralize Cosby senior Becca Wann -- a Richmond-bound basketball and soccer recruit who helped push Cosby past No. 2 Loudoun Valley in penalty kicks in the tournament's semifinals.

Stone Bridge's victory continued Northern Virginia's reign over the AAA state title. Since the tournament went official in 1984, only once has a non-local team captured the title (Kellam in 2005).

Loudoun, titletown: Stone Bridge's victory also solidified the Loudoun area's rise in girls' soccer. Broad Run won its third straight AA crown with a 2-0 victory over Loudoun County High School at Radford and No. 2 Loudoun Valley (19-3-3) girls made it to the AAA semifinals, meaning four Loudoun area girls teams made their respective tournaments, with two capturing titles. Numbers: Stone Bridge goalkeeper Julia Harmison had four saves and the Bulldogs outshot Cosby, 16-9.

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