A 2-1 victory over Courtland in the Virginia AA quarterfinals Tuesday night certainly was not the most prolific performance of the year for the fourth-ranked Potomac Falls boys' soccer team. Yet its potent offense was still on display -- highlighted by a pair of impressive first-half goals by sophomores Ben Biber and Matt Swaney -- against a stingy Courtland defense.
That allowed the Panthers (21-1-1) to overcome an early deficit and earn a trip to the state semifinals.
"We weren't getting a whole lot of opportunities," Potomac Falls Coach Dave Gryder said. "It was important to score when we could."
No Loudoun County team has made an AA boys' soccer final since 1992, when Park View lost in the title game. Potomac Falls will play Blacksburg tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Radford University.
The state final is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Courtland, the Region I runner-up, ended its season 15-4-2.
Trailing 1-0 in the first half, Potomac Falls scored twice in 10 minutes. On the first goal, Biber fielded a long pass on the left side and then got into a one-on-one situation with a defender. He spun and fired a 35-yard shot that went just beyond the goalkeeper's outstretched arms. The ball hit the inside of the right post and bounded into the goal in the 24th minute.
It was the same spot as his goal in last week's Region II championship game against Harrisonburg.
"I saw the defender coming over, and I just realized I have one touch," Biber said. "So I tried to go far post. That corner seems to be working for me."
Eleven minutes later, the Panthers struck on another nice play. From the far right side, about 35 yards out, senior Kevin Palensky made a long pass toward the goal. Swaney got in position and was able to net a header for the final margin.
The Panthers defense held as Courtland made a spirited push in the second half. The Cougars attempted four shots in the final 20 minutes.
"Our defense is amazing," Biber said. "We know that they're never going to give up too many goals, that they're always going to keep us in the game."
The boys' win came immediately after the Panthers girls had lost in penalty kicks to Courtland.
"I think that game inspired us a little bit more to make it so at least one of us can get down there" to Radford, Gryder said.
"But it's too bad that both of our teams couldn't go."