North Stafford 2,
Forest Park 0
Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
After nearly 30 minutes passed without either team recording a shot on goal, top-ranked North Stafford knocked in two goals in as many minutes in the first half Friday to beat No. 3 Forest Park, 2-0, in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region girls' soccer final.
The Wolverines (20-0-1) claimed the first region title in school history and became the first Northwestern Region champion from outside Prince William County in more than 10 seasons. Gar-Field beat North Stafford in the final last season.
"The game last year made the girls really hurt badly," North Stafford Coach Joanne Szymanski said. "I think that we could come back and do it this year made today that much better."
Two of the key players on last year's team set up the Wolverines' first goal. Senior midfielder Marissa Mohammed sent a through ball from the half-line to All-Met striker Brittany Croce, who broke free and beat a defender, shooting the ball low past the Bruins goalkeeper.
Moments later, freshman Mackenzie King was pulled down in the penalty box and sophomore Caitlin Wetzelberger scored on the penalty kick.
"I thought we would have had a bit more composure after they scored," Forest Park Coach Dave Cresswell said. "If we took away those minutes, then we would have had more of a match."
With three minutes left in the half, Forest Park sophomore Katie Goss passed ahead to sophomore Latrice Lee, who appeared to dribble by North Stafford senior goalie Maria Mohammed, but Mohammed, from the ground, clawed the ball away.
Szymanski said that this year's team is the best, skill-wise, she has coached in her 18 seasons at the school, and the statistics back her up: North Stafford has not trailed in a game this year and has outscored its opponents 84-9, recording 14 shutouts.
In the first round of the state tournament Tuesday, North Stafford will host Chantilly and Forest Park (12-2-3), which had a 15-game unbeaten streak snapped, will travel to Lake Braddock.
Last season, North Stafford lost in the state semifinals to eventual champion W.T. Woodson on penalty kicks.
In the boys' region final at Osbourn Park, sophomore Mike Purdy and freshman Derek Markheim scored to lead the top-ranked Yellow Jackets to a 2-0 victory over visiting Gar-Field. The Yellow Jackets (20-0-1) will host W.T. Woodson in a state quarterfinal Tuesday; Gar-Field (9-10) will travel to Westfield.