A stunned Jason Sprecher sat on the Fauquier bench and stared straight ahead, trying to make sense of the Falcons' 5-2 loss to visiting Stone Bridge in the AA Region II boys' soccer tournament Monday.
The sixth-ranked Falcons had won all 19 of their games up to that point, and they didn't expect their season to end so soon. The Northwestern District champions had designs on a regional title and more.
"It's tough to go out like this, especially after a great season," said Sprecher, a senior and second-team All-Met forward.
Fauquier, which hadn't allowed more than two goals in a game, gave up two in the first 10 minutes Monday. Stone Bridge led 4-0 by halftime, and the Falcons couldn't recover.
"We chose a bad time to lose our first game," Fauquier Coach Philip Roper said. "Give Stone Bridge credit; they came ready to play. Those first five minutes killed us. They got those two, and that made it tough for us. We dug ourselves a hole, and we couldn't get ourselves back out."
Stone Bridge (12-5-1), the Dulles District runner-up, advanced to last night's regional semifinal at Harrisonburg. The winner of the semifinal earns a berth in next week's state tournament and will play in tomorrow's regional final against the winner of last night's Potomac Falls-Charlottesville semifinal. (Yesterday's semifinals ended too late to be included in today's Loudoun Extra. See today's sports section for complete results.)
The Bulldogs, who averaged less than two goals per game before Monday, equaled their highest scoring output of the season. Their quick start allowed them to enter a comfort zone, Stone Bridge Coach Randy May said.
"You smell blood, and if you don't take advantage of it, it's on you for not finishing the job off," May said.
Stone Bridge senior forward Jimmy Smariga put the Bulldogs ahead in the third minute after he received a pass from forward Jimmy Boslaugh at the top of the penalty area. As the Falcons defense stayed back, Smariga took two touches and had a clear shot from 12 yards. He slid it low and to the right of Falcons goalkeeper Zach Roszel.
"Once I took that first touch, I knew I had a pretty good chance of putting it in," Smariga said.
The shocked Falcons became demoralized less than six minutes later when the official ruled that Smariga, who was chasing a loose ball, was fouled in the penalty area. Bulldogs defender Hussein Shaban converted the ensuing penalty kick to make the score 2-0.
Shaban and midfielder James Kiechlin scored later in the half, as the Bulldogs outshot Fauquier 9-3. Smariga made the score 5-0 with a header in the 60th minute.
"I feel like we picked our game up in the second half, but the first half just killed us," Sprecher said. "They scored five goals. It's just hard to come back from that."