A story in last week's Virginia Weekly incorrectly listed the winner of the 1980 Northern Region High School Soccer title for girls. The winner was Jefferson High School. In addition, a photo caption incorrectly identified the Jefferson goalie. The goalie is Dianne Perine.
A methodical, machine-like favorite and a reckless, rapid-fire upstart were winners of the girls' and boys' Northern Region High School Soccer Championships in games played at McLean High School Friday night. All four teams in the championship competition are Fairfax County schools.
The girls' team from Lee High School, whose young coach Janice Wolfe has made a habit of winning regional titles, picked apart Jefferson High with a carefully paced, controlled game to win the night's first contest, 2-1.
In the boys' competition, Lake Braddock beat another county school, Woodson, 1-0, in a game that featured 80 minutes of play at break-neck speed.
Approximately 1,000 fans cheered their approval throughout both contests, which featured almost exclusively players who learned their soccer in Northern Virginia youth leagues.
Lee's precision-oriented attack was typical of the style it used to win all 17 regular-season and tournament games this spring. The Lancers combined good ball movement with overlapping runs to keep Jefferson's fullbacks off balance; only excellent goalkeeping by Jefferson's Dianne Perine kept the margin of victory from being greater.
"We don't play kickball, we all work together," said Lee's Cathy Cassady after the game. Cassady, a small but quick freshman center forward, had 25 goals for the season, including the one that put Lee ahead 2-0 with 32:30 left in the game.
Jefferson, however, came back five minutes later to narrow the score to 2-1 on a goal by Cindy Webster. The goal came quickly, following shots by Lee's Cassady and Vicki Mann, which Perine saved. The turn of events could have switched the momentum to Jefferson, but Lee would not be flustered.
Sticking to Wolfe's game plan to "pressure the defense with good passing," Lee contained Jefferson's powerful attackers Pam Romano and Cindy Crump.
"We wanted to play them both very tight," said Wolfe, who won regional titles in 1979 and 1980 at Robinson High School in her first two years of coaching. "With Romano in the middle, we put someone in front of her and behind her. When she moved to wing, we let Lisa Zambrano play her man to man."
The result was that both Romano and Crump were held scoreless, Lee had its first regional soccer title, and Wolfe had her third championship team in four years.
In the boys' game, Lake Braddock won by combining superior midfield play with the ability to match the racehorse speeds of Woodson's Shawn Ritchie, Chris Masters, Page Jones and John Meginley.
"I knew we were in as good a shape as they were," said Lake Braddock coach Jac Cicala, who was making his first regional title appearance, after coaching two years at Marshall and two at J.E.B. Stuart before coming to Lake Braddock this year. "I don't really have a choice (but to play a fast game) on these fields--they're narrow and short."
A two-minute stretch in the first half was typical of the game's fast-paced action:
* With 18 minutes elapsed, Woodson took a long free kick after a foul by Lake Braddock. Woodson's Masters ran hard under the kick, straight at Lake Braddock goalkeeper Jim Miller. As Masters leaped to head the ball into the goal, Miller jumped and punched the ball out of danger. Both players landed in a heap.
* Seconds after Miller's clear, Lake Braddock had the ball inside Woodson's penalty area, resulting in three rapid-fire shots that narrowly missed. The attack culminated when Woodson goalkeeper Dan Williams made an acrobatic save, despite being dumped by Lake Braddock's charging Tommy Nicholson.
* With 16 minutes gone, cheers erupted from Lake Braddock fans as a short shot by Steve Saunders was clearly going into the goal, beyond Williams' grasp. But Woodson's Mike Rinaldi, reacting at the last instant, nudged the ball to safety.
At half time, Cicala urged his players to "follow up the attack a little more." He said he did not want to change anything: "The system is working well; don't panic, and stay alert. The second half will be critical for intensity."
In the second half, it was Lake Braddock's relentless pressure that produced the game's only goal. Following several exchanges at each end of the field, Lake Braddock's Nick Wuckovich broke through the middle to catch up with a 30-yard cross from the right sideline that caught the Woodson fullbacks off balance. Wuckovich's shot glanced off a fullback and into the goal.
Woodson summoned up more speed and fought back. Less than a minute later, Miller dove left to deflect a solid shot by Jones over the crossbar.
Three minutes later, a Woodson shot from seven yards out was too high. Ritchie then missed high after three more minutes elapsed, and Lake Braddock's Rich Larance blocked a Woodson header that seemed destined for the goal.
With 16 minutes left, Woodson lagged and Lake Braddock regained control. Lake Braddock's Matt Schmidt ripped two shots off the post within minutes of each other.
Lake Braddock's Saunders couldn't resist raising his fist and smiling at some friends who were calling to him from the sidelines with just 10 minutes remaining. But his victory gestures were almost premature.
Most of the final six minutes belonged to Woodson, but Lake Braddock, urged by Cicala's pleas to "get organized!," refused to collapse and pursued the Cavaliers to the final whistle.
After the exhausting game, Glen Niemeier looked at teammate Larance and said, "You're gonna wake me up when this is over, right, Rich?"
Lake Braddock plays in the state championship semifinals Thursday night at 8 at McLean High School. The state finals for boys will be played Friday night at 8 at McLean. There is no state championship game for girls this year.