Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
In just about every way imaginable, the fourth-ranked Potomac Falls boys' soccer team dominated visiting Harrisonburg in Friday night's Virginia AA Region II boys' soccer final. On defense, the Panthers denied time and space to the Blue Streak attackers, in midfield they challenged every pass and fed the ball to the forwards, and up front they created multiple chances and, ultimately, converted.
The familiar recipe added up to a 2-0 victory in Sterling, with sophomore forward Ben Biber and sophomore midfielder Matt Swaney scoring for Potomac Falls (20-1-1).
In the girls' final earlier in the night, No. 4 Potomac Falls captured its second consecutive Region II championship, topping No. 9 Stone Bridge, 2-0. Both Potomac Falls teams will host Region I runner-up Courtland in Tuesday's state quarterfinals; on the same day, Harrisonburg's boys and Stone Bridge's girls will play at Tabb, which won both Region I soccer titles.
Biber got things started for the Potomac Falls boys in the seventh minute, when he ran down midfielder Cliff McKenney's long pass and slotted a low shot into the right corner of the net. Ten minutes later, Swaney nodded in a header from six yards out, helping to lift the Panthers to their first region title since 2003.
"The way we played tonight, it feels great," Biber said. "We're moving the ball well, our defense is stopping teams and we're just coming out [and] dictating games for the most part. Hopefully our momentum will propel us three more games."
Harrisonburg fell to 18-4.
"Our defense has played really well all year and probably hasn't gotten the credit," Potomac Falls Coach Dave Gryder said. "They held off a team that has been on a roll, and we shut them out."
Potomac Falls and Stone Bridge played a similar game in the girls' title game. On a slick field, both teams squandered opportunities in the first half and were bolstered by dominating defenses that limited shots on goal.
But late in the second overtime, Panthers forward Lauren Malan sent a pass up the left sideline that seemed destined to go out of bounds. But at the last minute, it was saved by forward Ashleigh Snook, who split two defenders near the end line and buried a shot inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
With Stone Bridge (13-4-4) pushing forward later, Potomac Falls midfielder Ashley Mullins scored on a solo breakaway for the final margin.
"This team is unbelievable when we get into championships like this," Snook said. "Everyone finds it within themselves to just put it away, and we just come back winning."
With the win, Potomac Falls (13-2-3) has successfully defended two of the three titles it won last season -- the Dulles District and Region II crowns. With three more wins, the Panthers will be two-time defending state champions.