The cozy grouping of the Dulles District has afforded schools in Loudoun County the benefits of neighborhood rivalries and easy travel arrangements. If the recommendations of the Virginia High School League's redistricting and reclassification committee come to pass, that will come to an end for Loudoun Valley and Stone Bridge starting with the 2005-06 school year.
Growing enrollment numbers at Loudoun Valley and Stone Bridge have pushed both schools into Virginia AAA, where they have been assigned to the Fairfax County-dominant Northern Region. The proposed plan won't be adopted until the fall by the VHSL executive committee; until then, schools have a chance to appeal their placement.
There had been some thought to moving Loudoun Valley, Stone Bridge and Fauquier to the Northwestern Region and placing the three schools in Prince William County-based leagues. But Stone Bridge petitioned to be placed in the Northern Region, based largely on the fact that Athletic Director Dave Hembach and several of the Bulldogs' coaches had a previous working relationship with the Liberty District.
Hembach, football coach Mickey Thompson and volleyball coach Jill Raschiatore were all at Park View when the Patriots played in the Liberty in the late 1990s.
"For us, it's a good fit," Hembach said.
That wasn't the initial reaction at Loudoun Valley. The Vikings' new home, the Concorde District, includes some of the state's largest schools in Robinson and Westfield. A major drawback of the move, according to Athletic Director Bob Myers, is that Loudoun Valley teams will drive past former rivals and more convenient opponents to play in the Concorde.
"I don't like driving past Stone Bridge to play other teams," Myers said. "It seems like we ought to be playing them."
Highland Boys Fall
The Highland boys' lacrosse team was locked in a one-goal game against Covenant in The Invitational Lacrosse Tournament Division II final on Saturday in Charlottesville. It was the second year in a row the Hawks and Eagles appeared evenly matched, but a five-goal flurry late in the second quarter erased any chance Highland had of reversing its overtime loss to Covenant in 2003.
The Hawks trailed 5-4 before the Eagles scored five times in two minutes, pulling away for a 17-4 victory. Highland (14-5) had outlasted Virginia Episcopal in the semifinals on Friday, but the combination of injuries, fatigue and a talented Covenant team were too much to overcome, Hawks Coach Paul Horgan said.
"We completely ran out of gas," Horgan said. "They had more depth . . . and we were beat up and tired. . . . You could see [the Highland players'] legs slowing down on tape, and five goals in two minutes didn't exactly put any pep back in their step."
Highland will have to replace two players headed for college programs -- attackman Andrew Raich (Army) and midfielder Ryan Walker (Lynchburg) combined for 97 goals -- but will benefit from the return of juniors Nic Bell (61 goals, 75 assists) and Harrison Young (68 goals).
"We'll be as good or better next year," Horgan said. "And hopefully we can get back to the same game and win. Maybe the third time is the charm."
Spartans Roll, 8-2
Broad Run got in only a little more than a half of its boys' lacrosse game at Loudoun County on Monday night, but that was more than enough for the Spartans to win, 8-2, in a weather-shortened game.
Sophomore Evan Morgan scored four goals, and junior goalkeeper Ray Narciso led a strong defensive effort to help the Spartans (11-2, 6-1) clinch the second seed in the Dulles District tournament. Unbeaten Loudoun Valley is the top seed.
"I'm very proud of our guys," Broad Run Coach Phil Truiett said. "We had a slow start, but we improved a lot."
The Raiders (10-3, 5-2) scored the first goal of the game, but the Spartans countered with eight in a row. Sophomore Easton Rogers added two goals and an assist. Loudoun County was held to one shot in the second quarter.
"Our goal on defense was to pressure them a little bit," Truiett said. "And Ray did a great job."
-- DREW VANESSELSTYN
and SEAN P. FLYNN