The majority of the third quarter of a Region II boys' lacrosse semifinal between Loudoun Valley and Salem had expired Tuesday night, and the host Vikings still had not been able to pull away from the Spartans.
Fifty-three seconds changed that.
Conor Duggan and Ben Semmes scored once, and J.D. Harkey added two in a row as Loudoun Valley opened up a comfortable lead on its way to a 13-9 victory -- the first win by a Dulles District lacrosse team in Region II tournament play.
The Vikings' four goals came in less than a minute, and three were assisted. The lone unassisted goal came after Harkey won a faceoff -- one of three straight -- and split the Salem defense for an easy goal.
By the time the flurry was done, Loudoun Valley (17-0) had a six-goal lead. After closing out the game with a relatively calm fourth quarter, the Vikings had earned a home game tonight against Western Albemarle in the Region II final. The Warriors defeated Broad Run, 13-5, in the other semifinal.
"This is unbelievable," Harkey said. "We've been here the past two years and lost. This year's team is so much more special."
And unique. The Vikings had lost in their previous two appearances in the region tournament, including an overtime heartbreaker against Western Albemarle a year ago. With Broad Run's loss Tuesday, Dulles District teams are 1-5 in the postseason against Jefferson-Valley District representatives.
The Vikings had threatened to pull away in the first half, pushing to a 6-3 lead. But Salem (14-5) scored two straight before the break and was within 8-6 with 3 minutes 12 seconds left in the third.
Loudoun Valley entered the game Tuesday having scored more than 250 goals on the season but didn't look nearly that prolific until the late spurt.
In the second half, however, Harkey and the Vikings won nine of the 12 faceoffs and, in addition to the scoring bump, began to control the flow of the game. What few chances Salem did have on offense were mostly snuffed out by the Loudoun Valley defense.
Even after Salem scored its final goal with slightly less than three minutes to play, the Vikings won the faceoff and ran out the clock by maintaining possession.
"We weren't playing bad [in the first half], but we knew we weren't playing to our full potential," Harkey said. "We were able to pull it together and regain confidence in ourselves."
Season Ends for Bulldogs Girls
Tuesday night wasn't nearly as satisfying for the Stone Bridge girls' lacrosse team. The Bulldogs, top seeded in Region II and winners of 15 in a row entering the week, had their season end with an 8-5 loss at home to Charlottesville.
Stone Bridge (15-2) trailed by one goal at halftime -- 5-4 -- but never was able to tie the Black Knights. The loss was the first for the Bulldogs since a season-opening setback against Broad Run on March 25.
"We're not used to losing, so this was tough," Stone Bridge Coach Dana Drever said. "I told them to not be ashamed. We played a great game, but we lost to a good team."
Junior goalkeeper Ashley Sippel was again a bright spot for the Bulldogs, who are expected to have all but three seniors back next spring.
"We'll have basically our whole team back, and that'll be a plus," Drever said. "Next year we should be strong as well."