A host of chances had been created, yet not completed, by the Potomac Falls girls' soccer team in the first 20 minutes of its Virginia AA quarterfinal yesterday in Sterling. But the Panthers were far from frustrated, confident that a breakthrough against visiting Tabb was only a matter of time.
Then junior Ashleigh Snook's 21st-minute corner kick found the head of her favorite target, junior Claire Grubbs, and Potomac Falls was on the way to a 5-0 victory and the state semifinals.
"She's perfect," Snook said of Grubbs. "I just look for the tall, blonde head."
The seventh-ranked Panthers (20-1-2) scored three more times in the next 13 minutes and will play Abingdon, a 3-1 winner over Lord Botetourt, on Friday at Radford University.
As active as the Panthers' offense was, Snook may have been the most involved.
Following her assist on Grubbs's goal, she hit the right post. The rebound fell at the feet of Jenna Martin, who scored for a 2-0 lead. Kathleen Bracken scored in the 32nd minute, and Snook capped the first-half domination of the Tigers (11-4-1) with an unassisted goal with less than seven minutes to play.
Powerful Broad Run Moves On
A precise Broad Run offense scored six goals on 11 shots to fend off Courtland, 6-3, in a Virginia AA quarterfinal game in Spotsylvania.
Spartans freshman Brianna Smith scored two goals and four others had one apiece as Broad Run advanced to the state semifinals on Friday at Radford University. The Spartans (19-2-2) will play Hidden Valley at 4 p.m.
"I think that one of our strong points as a team is that we're very good at putting the ball away when we get the opportunity," said junior Liz Frank, who had one of the goals.
A Courtland defense that had yielded eight goals in its first 20 games this season surrendered six, including scores by sophomore Tati Raffo, senior Erin May and Frank in the first 14 minutes of the game. The Cougars (19-1-1) had not lost this season and had won 18 in a row since a scoreless tie against Colonial Forge on March 22.
Gar-Field's Turnaround Ends in Loss
Gar-Field manufactured plenty of scoring opportunities during its first AAA tournament berth in a decade. But Mills Godwin -- in the state tournament for a second consecutive year -- proved more adept at finishing, and the visiting Eagles advanced with a 3-2 win.
Gar-Field (12-6-2) outshot Central Region runner-up Mills Godwin, 17-12, and controlled the action for much of the game.
But the Eagles (13-6-2) didn't need many chances. They scored on their first two shots of the second half to break a 1-1 deadlock. The first goal came on a loose ball in front of the Gar-Field net, the second on a perfectly executed two-on-one rush.
Northwestern Region champion Gar-Field sent 10 players forward in the final 10 minutes. The Indians drew within one when sophomore Kendall Irby burst down the left side and directed a centering pass to an unmarked Samantha Chendorain, whose scoring strike came with less than eight minutes remaining.
Several Gar-Field scoring chances in the final moments went awry, ending the team's breakout season. The Indians had one win last year.
"We dominated almost the entire game," said Gar-Field senior defender Nathalie Bolder, who will play for Kentucky next year. "But we just couldn't finish, and they did."
In the semifinals, Mills Godwin will play Centreville, a 3-0 winner over host Kellam last night. Sophomore midfielder Patti Benner, sophomore forward Emily Jukich and junior forward Laura Rochford scored goals spaced almost exactly 20 minutes apart for Centreville.