For one day in the Virginia AA girls' soccer tournament, Potomac Falls junior Ashleigh Snook couldn't miss.
Snook scored four goals in two games Saturday, the most important one coming in the third minute of the Panthers' 2-0 championship game victory over Broad Run at Radford University.
"I've been hitting posts my entire high school season, so it was nice to have four in this one," Snook said. "Especially this one right at the beginning [against Broad Run]. I think that one really broke them down a little bit."
The meeting was the fifth of the season for the two Dulles District rivals -- held in this city more than 250 miles south of their homes in Loudoun County -- came at the end a grueling day in which both teams had to play twice because of lightning and rain Friday evening.
In the end, Potomac Falls (22-1-2) recorded its fourth straight shutout and earned its first title since 2000. In 2001, the teams played five times, and Broad Run defeated Potomac Falls in the championship game. This season, Broad Run won one regular season game over Potomac Falls and tied the other; Potomac Falls won in the district, region and state final.
"We're even," Broad Run Coach Claire Collins said. "When you're playing Potomac Falls, it really comes down to whoever can get the ball in the net. . . . It's just a mental game when you play Potomac Falls."
Snook had three goals in an 8-0 semifinal victory over Abingdon on Saturday morning and provided the main spark with her speed and hustle. Snook had three good scoring chances in the first three minutes before she scored off a corner kick by Hayley Pasko. For much of the rest of the game, Snook was a key midfielder, and she even replaced an injured player in the backfield for five minutes.
"She's been playing like this all season, she really has," Coach Kris Kelican said. "We had her all over the field today. . . . She does fine anywhere. She knows the game real well, and she hustles like crazy."
At the same time, her teammates were doing their share as well. A strong Potomac Falls defense, led by All-Met junior Lauren Malan and senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Sellers, shut down a potent Broad Run attack, holding the Spartans to five shots, none in the final 14 minutes.
Potomac Falls's offense, anchored by Pasko, junior Claire Grubbs and sophomore Breanne Brady, was sharp throughout the game.
"Everybody brought their best game," Malan said. "We were all doing a great job working as a team."
At the end of the championship game, as they mobbed one another near midfield, the Potomac Falls players quickly grabbed a poster with a picture of 2003 graduate Nicole Megaloudis. The former Panthers standout died in a car accident in February, and the team dedicated its season to her.
"Everything we've done this year is for her," Malan said. "I think she knows that, and I think she's looking down on us as well."