Lake Braddock 2,
Lake Braddock girls' soccer coach Liz Pike never doubted her team's resilience when it fell behind against Chantilly in yesterday's Virginia AAA Northern Region final. The Bruins proved that her faith was justified.
Lake Braddock senior midfielder Lindsay Bowers scored six minutes into overtime to propel the second-ranked Bruins to a 2-1 comeback victory over No. 5 Chantilly at Fairfax High and their second region title in three seasons.
"It feels great," Bowers said, "especially as a senior coming in and scoring the winning goal."
In state quarterfinal matches on Tuesday, Lake Braddock (12-3-2) will host Northwestern Region runner-up Forest Park, while Chantilly (14-7) will travel to play Northwestern champion North Stafford. It was the second time in three years that Lake Braddock had defeated Chantilly in the region final -- in 2003, the Bruins did it (by the same score) and went on to win the state tournament.
Less than a minute into the second overtime last night, Bowers dribbled the ball down the right wing and juked a defender with a move back toward the center of the field. Taking advantage of the opening that she created, Bowers struck a shot with her left foot that bent over the outstretched hands of Chantilly's goalkeeper.
"That's just like a thing I do all the time," Bowers said. "It's just my move, I guess. I just got down there and I just did it."
After a first half with little offense, Chantilly broke a scoreless tie in the 62nd minute. All-Met Player of the Year Amy Smerdzinski dribbled in from the right wing and blasted a shot from about 15 yards out with her right foot. The ball rolled through the goal mouth, rang off the far post and into the goal.
"Once they scored that goal, it was like, 'We have to pick this up or we're going to lose this game,' " Bowers said. "It just finally got to us that we could lose this game."
So the Bruins increased the offensive pressure. And after seven second-half shots, Lake Braddock senior forward Candace Hollis scored the equalizer in the 76th minute. Bowers lofted a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced back into play. Hollis charged in and converted the rebound.
"Candace finishing right before regulation was over gave us that second wind we needed," Pike said. "Our battle this season was just, 'Were we going to come together?' I think in the last three games, they've showed that they can rely on each other and do some great stuff."