Oakton senior Manuel Barcia scored the winning goal in the second minute of the second five-minute overtime period to lift the second-ranked Cougars to a 2-1 victory over Midlothian in tonight's Virginia AAA boys soccer semifinals at Old Dominion.
Six yellow cards were issued in the game, and the play that created the winning goal was typical of the match's physical nature. Oakton senior Carlo Martinez was slammed into the fence outside the playing field while chasing the ball along the sideline. No foul was called, but senior Kenny Arena flipped junior Will Cummings's ensuing throw-in to Barcia, who scored from seven yards out.
"Carlo is a good friend of mine, so that really got me fired up," Barcia said. "All of a sudden I got extra wind in me."
Oakton (22-1-1) will play No. 1 Hylton in Saturday's 4 p.m. state final. The Cougars, the only team to defeat the defending state champion Bulldogs this season, won on penalty kicks early in the season.
Oakton played a sluggish first half and fell behind, 1-0. But the Cougars came out more eager in the second. Thirty seconds into the half, a small tussle broke out between Oakton's Dan Ambrosio and Midlothian's Ben Swann.
Seconds later, a Midlothian player was called for a high kick, resulting in an Oakton free kick from 23 yards out. Arena took the kick, which deflected off the hands of goalkeeper Darren Allen. Cummings followed the deflection with a shot into the left corner.
"For a 10-minute stretch, we were fouling and giving them free kicks and it cost us," said Midlothian Coach David Terry, who guided the Trojans (19-2-1) to their best season in school history.
Midlothian's team speed gave the Cougars trouble in the first half, and the Trojans took the lead in the 24th minute. Sophomore Matt Feraci dribbled past two Oakton defenders in the penalty area, put a move on Oakton goalkeeper Mike Pregnall and scored.
"They destroyed us in the first half," Oakton Coach T.J. White said. "In the second half, we raised our intensity and got the result."
Midlothian (19-2-1)10001Oakton (22-1-1)01012
GOALS -- M: Feraci 24th; O: Cummings 41st, Barcia 87th.
ASSISTS -- O: Arena 2.
SHOTS -- Midlothian 6, Oakton 10.
SAVES -- M: D. Allen 2; O: Pregnall.
Special correspondents Will Kuhns and Bryan Tucker contributed to this report.