In a matchup of two even teams, juniors Angela Naso and Ashley Sippel proved to be the difference in the Stone Bridge girls' lacrosse team's 11-9 victory over Loudoun Valley on Wednesday night.
Naso had seven goals, and Sippel had 17 saves as Stone Bridge (11-1, 7-0) took first place in the Dulles District.
"It was an excellent game played by everybody," Stone Bridge Coach Dana Drever said. "They're very good, very talented. But [Stone Bridge] had a great day. The girls really wanted this and had really been looking forward to this game all year."
Last spring, the Bulldogs lost to Loudoun Valley three times. The teams will be the top two seeds when the district tournament starts Wednesday and could meet again in the final.
Stone Bridge has won 11 games in a row since a season-opening loss to Broad Run in a game that did not count in district standings. (Most Dulles District teams scheduled two games against one another, but only one was to be reflected in the standings.) Loudoun Valley (10-1, 6-1) was handed its first loss of the season.
Naso, who plays attack, has a team-best 44 goals this season; freshman Melissa Giusti is right behind her with 37. It was Naso, however, who took control of the game against Loudoun Valley.
"She's usually pretty unstoppable," Drever said, "but this was a game she was really waiting for."
Sippel has 109 saves in goal this season and has saved 69 percent of the shots she's faced. She took up the goalkeeper position a few games into last season and has proved a quick study.
"She's kind of a natural at it," Drever said. "We worked a lot with her, and she listens well. She started out playing defense on our team, so I think she has a knack at playing defense."
The Wrong Kind of Upset
The Fauquier girls could not hand Loudoun Valley a second loss in a row, falling, 15-13, on Thursday evening in Warrenton -- an outcome Falcons Coach Paul Stuart said was upsetting.
"That was a disappointment," Stuart said. "Last night was an important game for us, and maybe the girls were too up for it."
The Falcons (6-4) had won six in a row before Thursday and were confident of their ability to stay with the Vikings, perennially one of the area's tougher teams.
Seniors Jillian and Taylor Boyd had been averaging five and three goals per game, respectively; the twins will play for Virginia Wesleyan next year. As a team, Fauquier had scored 16 goals per game during the streak.
But on Thursday, a rough time on the draws -- the Vikings won 75 percent -- limited the Falcons' scoring opportunities.
Next Saturday the Falcons will travel to play Rockbridge County, one of the state's top AA teams.
"We've had two disappointments, against Stone Bridge and against Loudoun Valley, and one big win, against Monticello," Stuart said. "That's our goal against Rockbridge, to pick it up and get over the Loudoun Valley loss."
The Best Defense
The Broad Run boys have one of the area's most menacing defenses, led by senior Paul Hagood and junior goalkeeper Ray Narciso, a transfer from DeMatha. The Spartans (10-2, 5-1) have yielded three goals or fewer in eight of their 10 wins.
Broad Run's only losses are to Loudoun Valley, which twice beat the Spartans by a 12-9 score. In the 10 wins, the Spartans have surrendered just 26 goals. The Spartans will face a test in a game Monday night against Loudoun County, which also has one loss in district play.
Getting Narciso "was a pleasant surprise," Coach Phil Truitt said. "Our defense has been very solid."