The tense and charged atmosphere of sudden-death penalty kicks often produces heroes on a large scale.
Last night in the Virginia AAA Northern Region boys' soccer semifinals, no hero loomed larger than Langley senior goalkeeper Brian Twomey.
Following Langley senior forward Jonathan Kochba's eventual winning goal in the ninth-ranked Saxons' 4-3 sudden-death penalty kick victory against No. 10 Lake Braddock (11-3-4), Twomey made the stop that sent the Saxons to the region final.
Twomey lunged to his left to stop Lake Braddock sophomore forward Guil Costa's right-footed shot. When Twomey arose from the ground, he raised his hands and rejoiced while circling nearly the entire field at Annandale, followed by his teammates.
"On that last penalty kick I kind of faked to my right and once I saw him looking to my left then I dove, I was kind of lucky enough to get there," Twomey said. During the celebration "I kind of lost it there . . . it was such a tense game and I felt like I kind of lost it there on the first goal [in regulation] and I wanted to make up for it."
"Brian is a quiet kid, he doesn't say much," Langley Coach Bob Murray said. "But he knows how to celebrate when he has to."
In the first penalty kick period, which ended tied at 3, Twomey made two big saves against the first two Lake Braddock penalty shots.
And regulation, which ended tied at 1, was just as evenly matched.
Lake Braddock freshman midfielder Jose Colchao scored the first goal in the 32nd minute to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. Langley (12-3-1) rallied to tie the score at 1 in the 68th minute when Kochba scored a goal that energized the Langley fans.
Both teams failed to produce good scoring opportunities in nearly 20 minutes of overtime.
Langley will face West Springfield on Friday night at 8 in the region final at Westfield.
Earlier in the night, West Springfield defeated West Potomac, 4-1.
The Spartans (16-1) turned in an overwhelming offensive performance led by senior forward and leading scorer Nick Wagonhearst (12 goals).
Wagonhearst scored just three minutes into the contest off an assist from senior midfielder Mike Davis and then scored again in the 29th minute to take a 2-0 lead before halftime.
"After those first two goals [West Potomac] kind of stopped, you could definitely tell there was a drop-off," Wagonhearst said of the Spartans' third victory this season over West Potomac.
Led by senior All-Met defender Pat Carroll, the West Springfield defense shut off All-Met forward Doug Ernst from the ball. West Potomac (9-7) had lost a major link in feeding Ernst after junior midfielder Edgar Zaidivar injured his ankle in a club soccer tournament last weekend. Ernst, however, finally struck in the last second off of a nearly 25-yard free kick that ruined West Springfield's chances of securing its 12th shutout this season.