A player responsible for scoring the winning goal in a high school soccer tournament game was given incorrectly in last week's Weekly. Doug Bradley was the player who scored the goal for Lake Braddock High School in its victory over Robinson High School.
The Lake Braddock Secondary School boys varsity soccer team will travel to Richmond tomorrow to defend its state championship title thanks to a change in strategy at half time last Friday night that enabled the Bruins to beat Robinson High School, 1-0, in the Northern Region championship game played at McLean.
The Lake Braddock girls also won the Northern Region title by beating Robinson, 2-1, in a game that went into four overtime periods. There is no state tournament for girls.
The Lake Braddock boys will take to the state tournament a fast-paced, highly physical brand of soccer that earned them 16 victories in 19 games this season. They also will take the knowledge that they can successfully change their tactics against excellent competition, which is exactly what they had to do to beat Robinson.
Lake Braddock's chances of winning its second consecutive regional championship and trip to the state tournament did not look promising throughout much of the first half of the game against Robinson. The Rams controlled the ball, and Lake Braddock was being pressured against its own goal.
Robinson coach Steve Bauman says he likes to see his center midfielder John Bettino "set the pace for us," and that's exactly what the senior all-district player did in the first half. Bettino consistently found open space and used it to create pressure on the Lake Braddock fullbacks.
With 16:54 left in the firt half, Robinson nearly scored on a scorching header from 12 yards out by midfielder Aaron Kuzemka, but Lake Braddock goalkeeper Mark Wayland made a diving save.
By halftime, Lake Braddock coach Jac Cicala knew a strategy change was needed. "We were giving up too much in the midfield," Cicala said later. "I decided to switch to four midfielders from three ."
Cicala's move left his team with only two forwards. But sometimes less is more, and this turned out to be one of those times.
"A lot of goals are scored at the start of the second half if a team isn't mentally ready after halftime," Cicala said. "We wanted to score early and then control the ball and hold on to the lead."
Cicala's plan worked to perfection.
Just 39 seconds into the half--well before Robinson could adjust to Lake Braddock's lineup change--Lake Braddock's Doug Sanders surprised Robinson by running into open space from midfield to receive a crossing pass from forward Mitch Spencer. Sanders fired a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Greg Wells.
"Doug was supposed to come up like that more often in the first half," but with three forwards in front of him, Cicala said, Sanders played more defensively. When one forward was removed at half time, Sanders became more effective on the attack.
The four Lake Braddock midfielders also effectively contained Bettino for much of the second half. "The extra player at midfield allowed us to mark him more tightly," Cicala said. "That really helped us."
Cicala was convinced that once the Bruins scored, their stamina would help them control Robinson. "With teams as evenly matched as we are, it comes down to who's in better shape and who makes the fewest mistakes," Cicala said. "We train very hard. I think we're in better shape across the board than almost any team we play."
In the state tournament, which will be played tomorrow and Friday at Douglas-Freeman High School in Richmond, Lake Braddock is expected to rely on forwards Spencer, Tom Nicholson and Matt Schmidt, midfielders Bradley, Charles Volpe and John Elliott, and defenders Mahlon Moore and Alan Anderson.
The Lake Braddock girls claimed the regional title for the first time since 1978 when right wing Jenny Rowzie burst out of a crowd in front of the goal to score the game winner with 2:06 left in the game's fourth overtime period.
The two girls' teams battled to a 1-1 tie after 80 minutes of regulation play, in a highly physical game during which three yellow cards were issued in the final 23 minutes of play. In all, 61 fouls were whistled.
Lake Braddock's sophomore goalkeeper Amy McDowell had 13 saves in the game, including a leaping tip over the crossbar on a Robinson free-kick with three minutes left in the third overtime.
Lake Braddock coach Carolyn Rice called the game "the best matchup you could find on the East Coast, with the possible exception of a couple of college teams."
Rice guided the Bruins to a 17-1 season record. Her team scored a total of 72 goals to 14 for opponents.