Westfield 11, Chantilly 8
When the players standing on the Westfield sideline erupted upon hearing the final whistle and raced onto the field to congratulate their teammates after last night's Concorde District girls' lacrosse semifinal, the team displayed an emotion normally reserved for much later in the postseason.
The 11-8 triumph at Chantilly was both convincing and satisfying for the senior-led Bulldogs (10-2), mostly because it helped make up for crushing one-goal defeats in their past two meetings with the eighth-ranked Chargers.
One month ago, Westfield lost, 6-5, in overtime. One year ago, the Bulldogs lost a disputed district final at Chantilly. In that game, the Bulldogs scored five unanswered goals to close to within one with approximately six minutes to play. But then, the officials called the game because of slippery field conditions, even though it had not rained during the contest.
"Yes, last year's game was on our minds," said Westfield senior center Amy Babiarz, who scored a game-high four goals and had one assist last night. "And now, we get the chance to bring the district title home next week. We knew the game would be on our field, and we didn't want anyone else playing on it. We want to be able to show each other what all the hard work we've put in means."
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs, with seven seniors who have four years of varsity experience, will host top-seeded Oakton on Tuesday. The Cougars advanced after last night's 17-4 defeat of Centreville. Oakton beat Westfield, 8-7, on Monday.
Last night's win represented more than revenge for Bulldogs Coach Richard DeSomma.
"Intensity is what got us the win [vs. Chantilly]," said DeSomma. "We really haven't been playing that well all season. But tonight, the girls saw what they can do when put it all together."
Westfield, which last year reached the Northern Region tournament semifinals, dominated ground balls and shots during the aggressively played game. Four yellow cards were issued, three against the Chargers.
Chantilly (10-2) scored the game's first two goals, before Haley Carmack helped the Bulldogs scored six of the next seven goals and grab a 6-3 halftime lead. Carmack, a senior mid attack, had three first-half goals.
Christen Fratter scored in the opening moments of the second half to pull the two-time defending Concorde champion Chargers to 6-4, but Chantilly never got closer. Fratter finished with a team-high three goals and one assist.
Babiarz said she hopes her team can play at a high level throughout next week's district final, something it didn't do in its first meeting with the Cougars.
"For the first 45 minutes last time, we didn't play well," said Babiarz. "But that final five minutes, we did. We played a lot like we did [last night]. We know that's what it's going to take to win the district title."