Another game, another dramatic comeback for the Oakton boys' lacrosse team.
Cougars senior midfielder Reed Carlstrom scored with 26 seconds remaining to lift the defending unofficial Virginia champion to an 11-10 victory over visiting W.T. Woodson in the AAA Northern Region tournament final last night in Vienna. It marked the second time in four days the Cougars have rallied from a three-goal deficit in the second half.
Oakton (15-2) advanced to Saturday's final at Northwestern Region champion Albemarle, where it will look to become the third consecutive school from the Northern Region to win consecutive state titles -- a feat also accomplished by Robinson (2001-02) and W.T. Woodson (1999-2000).
W.T. Woodson, making its first region final appearance in four years, finished its season 13-5. Junior attack Aaron Solomon led the Cavaliers with a game-high five goals.
Carlstrom's game-winning goal, in which he circled from the back of the goal before driving a shot underneath senior goalie Warren Mayberry, capped a comeback that saw the Cougars rally from a 9-6 deficit with 8 minutes 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"I just got the ball and faked to the left and spun to the right and shot it between the goalie's legs," Carlstrom said. "We've been down before, so we know not to panic."
Last Thursday in its semifinal victory over Robinson, Oakton scored the final four goals -- the last by junior attack Matt Silton in overtime -- to rally from a 13-10 deficit.
"We felt pretty confident in both games, but for some reason we waited until it was urgent to get the job done," said Oakton senior Quinn Cooke, who added two goals and an assist. "It seems every game we take turns, and now it was Reed's turn."
Arnold, Cavaliers Fire Away
W.T. Woodson's Courtney Arnold could not have picked a better time to have one of the finest games of her career.
The senior attack tied a career-high by scoring six goals to lead her girls' lacrosse team to a 19-7 victory over sixth-ranked Oakton in the Virginia AAA Northern Region final last night in Vienna and leaving the Cavaliers one win away from their second unofficial Virginia title in the past three years.
The Cavaliers (17-3) advanced to Saturday's final at Northwestern Region champion Albemarle, where they will look to win their state-high fifth title in the past 10 years. Oakton, which was denied its first appearance in the state final since losing to Albermarle in 1998, ended its season 19-2.
"Courtney's basically been the pulse of our team for the last four years," Coach Darah Bonham said of the Loyola-bound Arnold, who also scored six times in a victory over Garden City (N.J.) in a tournament two months earlier. "She's won a state title with us before [in 2002] and she wants to leave here with another one."
W.T. Woodson had little trouble securing its third Northern Region title in the past five years and ending Oakton's 13-game winning streak. The Cavaliers needed just 18 seconds to take a 1-0 lead on the first of three goals by senior midfielder Megan Cassara, and 52 seconds later, Arnold found the back of the net. By the time Oakton managed to get its first possession, it trailed 5-0 before junior attack Christina Cable scored the Cougars' first goal six minutes into the game.
The Cougars managed to pull within 6-3 on a goal by All-Met Kelly Kimener with 10:42 remaining in the first half, but the Cavaliers provided another offensive outburst by scoring six of the half's next seven goals to take a 12-4 lead at the half.
"Our goal was to get them down early," Arnold said. "And once we got going they couldn't stop us."