The Loudoun County girls soccer team's Virginia AA quarterfinal game against visiting Massaponax came as a welcome change. Since the start of the 1998 season, the Raiders have played 41 games, but Tuesday's game was only their sixth in that span against a non-Northwestern District opponent.
Loudoun County, the Region II champion, knew nothing about its opponent from Fredericksburg and the Battlefield District, but it didn't really matter -- the Raiders (17-4) won, 4-0, and outshot the Panthers (12-5-1) by a 30-4 margin.
"My mom [who works in Fredericksburg] had read some articles in the paper and told me who [Massaponax's] key players were, but we didn't have a roster so it was kind of a moot point," Loudoun County Coach Scott Cray said. "But as the game progressed, we were able to see who was who. . . . It was definitely very refreshing to play someone else from outside the district."
Loudoun County sophomore Tara Kidwell scored her 25th and 26th goals of the season in the state quarterfinal win. The Leesburg school opened in 1954 and has never won a state title in a team sport.
The Raiders never had a chance in girls soccer before this season, however -- this is the first time the Virginia High School League has sanctioned a Group AA girls soccer championship.
Loudoun County will face Blacksburg (14-4) in a state semifinal Friday in Roanoke.
Junior shortstop Dana Jones smacked a three-run home run in the fifth inning to help host Chancellor blank Lee-Davis, 6-0, in a Virginia AAA quarterfinal softball game Tuesday night.
Chancellor pitcher Samantha Bragg tossed a three-hit shutout and added a two-run double in the first inning last night for the Northwestern Region champion. The Chargers (19-7) will face defending state champion Great Bridge in Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach.
Hitchin' a Ride
After qualifying for the state semifinals by defeating Poquoson, 3-0, in Tuesday's Virginia AA quarterfinal, Handley's boys soccer team faced a new challenge -- how to get there.
"There are no more charter buses available," Handley Coach Jim Carden said. "You never know if you are going to need one until you win your quarterfinal."
Considering the Judges have reached the state semifinals -- held Friday in Salem, Va., this year -- in each of the past two seasons, maybe they should have planned ahead. Instead, the boys soccer players will hitch a ride with the Handley baseball team, whose bus leaves at 8 a.m. Friday. The baseball team qualified for its first state semifinal by defeating Poquoson, 2-1, Tuesday and will play Lebanon at 2 p.m. Friday with the soccer team lending its support.
The boys soccer team faces defending state champion Blacksburg (20-0), which has 17 shutouts this season. Blacksburg defeated Handley, 2-1, in last year's state final.
Damon Pigrom, who has coached at boys varsity basketball at Poolesville for the past two seasons, is moving on to Blake, where he will guide the program in its first varsity season.
Pigrom had a 21-24 record in two seasons at Poolesville.
"The opportunity at Blake is a dream, to start a program from the ground up," Pigrom said.
Year-old Blake's junior varsity boys team went 9-9 this season under Coach Gib Warnick.
Next school year, all of the Silver Spring school's teams will have varsity status. Kami Humbert will coach the girls varsity basketball program, taking over for Brenonda Jackson, who will remain with the team as a volunteer assistant. . . . Pat Cook will succeed Mike Testa as boys varsity basketball coach at Damascus. Testa resigned after two seasons, according to Athletic Director John Brown. Cook has worked with the Damascus junior varsity program for the past two seasons.
Staff writer Tara Finnegan and special correspondents Kevin Callahan, Will Kuhns and Jeff Seidel contributed to this report.