For better or worse, the Loudoun Valley softball team is accustomed to rain delays at the Virginia AA tournament at Radford University.
So the Vikings arrived Friday prepared. They brought a permission slip from the school that would allow them to play Sunday, if necessary. They also packed an extra set of uniforms and clothes.
That part, at least, was put to good use.
Lightning and heavy rain forced the postponement of the Vikings' semifinal against Turner Ashby on Friday. The two teams -- locked in a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning -- were scheduled to resume play yesterday. The championship game was scheduled for last night, barring any other delays.
Last season, the Virginia AA final between Loudoun Valley and Park View was completely washed out Saturday and played Sunday. The change forced Coach Joe Spicer to scurry for the permission slip to play Sunday -- and sent the girls in search of additional clothing.
"We learned our lesson last year," Spicer said. "So this year we packed all the extra stuff with us just in case."
But the Vikings didn't panic Friday as they waited for official word on the postponements. Instead, as the coaches gathered information, the players simply huddled under the Dedmon Center dome at Radford with other softball and soccer teams and made the best of it.
They chatted on cell phones, sang to music that blared from a portable radio, played a little basketball and then entertained themselves -- and others -- with a rendition of the "pony dance" that they started doing before playoff games a year ago.
The dance, which is actually more of a cheer, even enticed one of the Radford High boys' soccer players to join in their circle.
"We used to do it a long time ago," junior second baseman Jessica Everhart said. "A bunch of us did it when we played together when we were about 10 years old."
Last year's senior class revived the dance, during which players take turns in the middle of a circle. This year's team agreed to keep it going.
"It's a tradition now, I guess," junior catcher Britney Hilling said.
A Busy Saturday
The Potomac Falls and Broad Run girls' soccer teams' return to the state tournament took a soggy and possibly exhausting turn Friday, when the Virginia AA semifinals were postponed until Saturday when rain struck in the middle of Broad Run's semifinal game against Hidden Valley.
The Broad Run game was scheduled to restart yesterday morning at Radford University; Potomac Falls's game against Abingdon was rescheduled, also for yesterday morning, at Radford High School.
Against the lobbying of some coaches, the winning teams of each game were scheduled to face each other at 6 p.m. yesterday.
Potomac Falls Coach Kris Kelican was disappointed in the prospect of two games in one day as well as the Panthers being forced to play the semifinal at a different stadium from the final.
"It's too bad we have to" possibly play twice in one day, Kelican said, "but we'll have to deal."
Kelican noted that many of his players compete with club teams and are used to having multiple games on the same day, and he praised his team's mental preparedness.
Broad Run actually played 34 minutes of its semifinal before being stopped by lightning. The two teams combined for only five shots and were scoreless.