With one stunning kick of the ball late in Potomac Falls's 3-3 tie against Broad Run on Friday night, Panthers senior Bill Kirchner made up for a forgettable first 74 minutes for himself and a forgettable four game-stretch for the Panthers.
The Panthers trailed by a goal in the 75th minute, but Kirchner rocketed a 35-yard kick into the upper right corner of the net and the Panthers pulled out the tie in an intense Dulles District game in Ashburn.
The Panthers had been up 2-1 early in the second half when Kirchner failed on a penalty kick.
The goal "was one of those where it was laid up perfectly for me," Kirchner said. "I finally got the chance to redeem myself after missing that PK."
The tie still clinched the Dulles District regular-season championship for Broad Run (14-1-1, 11-1-1), whose only loss this season was in its previous game against the Panthers. The tie gave Potomac Falls (11-2-2, 9-2-2) a measure of confidence after a four-game stretch in which they went 1-2-1, including a stunning 4-3 loss to Heritage on Tuesday night.
Potomac Falls led at halftime and was able to hold off Broad Run for much of the game before falling behind when Jay Triplett made a penalty kick in the 71st minute.
"Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone," Potomac Falls Coach Dave Gryder said. "We know it wasn't a win, but we played good enough to win."
Broad Run's players were pleased with the tie and the district championship, but they knew the tie was partly the result of several missed opportunities.
The Spartans did not score on a half-dozen point-blank shots, including a sequence of three in the 20th minute that bounced off Potomac Falls freshman goalkeeper Austin Shangraw, the crossbar and the left post before being secured by Shangraw.
"We wanted to come away with a win," said Spartans senior Adam McDaniel, "but it was a good tie."
In Good Hands
The Broad Run offense may prefer to have sophomore Katie Starr playing in the midfield. Friday night, however, the fifth-ranked Spartans were more than happy to have her protecting the net.
Starr, making her second straight start because of injury and illness to Broad Run's regular goalkeepers, combined with a composed Spartans defense to earn a 0-0 draw with Potomac Falls and earn the top seed in the Dulles District tournament.
"Thank goodness we have her as a third option," Broad Run Coach Claire Collins said after her team shut out Potomac Falls for the second time this season. "It's pretty comforting that we have that, but we do miss her in the midfield. We had a big problem in the midfield tonight and that's because she wasn't there."
Starr will more than likely get to return to her normal -- and preferred -- position for the Stone Bridge game on Tuesday if Kendra Gillgren is ready to play. Junior Rachel Cook started the season in goal but is out because of a broken collarbone against Loudoun County on Monday.
"It's been hard. It's a good thing we have two goalies and me," said Starr, whose first start in goal on Wednesday was a relatively stress-free 7-1 win over Stone Bridge. "I haven't played goal in about two years, but at least I know how to play goal. . . . I'd rather be out there in the midfield because you don't have everyone on your back if the one goal that they score wins the game."