If there was any question as to how good the Stafford High School field hockey team was before the Virginia AAA state tournament started Thursday, it was answered last night after the Indians pushed the most storied team in state history, Frank W. Cox, in a 2-0 loss in the semifinals.

Stafford Coach Robin Woodie wasn't asked whether her team had entered the game with something to prove, but she felt the need to address the issue anyway.

"We definitely belonged on the field with them," said Woodie of Cox, which has now outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 108-4 en route to a 20-0 record. Cox has won nine of the last 10 state championships.

Stafford (16-4) had qualified as the Northwestern Region champion. North Stafford, the region's runner-up, was eliminated on Thursday night by West Potomac, 3-2 in double overtime. The Wolverines finished 13-6.

In last night's game at Oakton High School, Stafford actually had more corners than Cox, 14-12. Cox had more shots on goal, 18-9, but Stafford senior goalie Betsy Decatur produced 15 saves in her final high school field hockey game.

"We definitely had our chances," Woodie said. "We had opportunities."

Stafford had never advanced to the state semifinals, even though it reached the quarterfinal round of the eight-team tournament three times in the previous four years. The Indians advanced to the semifinals this year by beating Centreville, 2-1, on Thursday even though the Wildcats entered the game as the second-ranked team in the Washington area.

"We knew that if we played our best, we had a chance to beat them," said sophomore Amy Galivan, who scored both of Stafford's goals against Centreville. "We just had to put our everything out there."

Woodie claimed that her team had not expended too much emotion in the Centreville win, and her players proved it by controlling the first few minutes in the game against Cox.

"We tell them to celebrate their victories and their success, and then they raise the bar a little higher," Woodie said. "They did that this year. They reached the final four of states. Maybe now we'll get some recognition."