In terms of soccer luck in the state tournament, Chantilly's Mary Casey can finally call it even.
The junior's header on a corner kick less than nine minutes from halftime caromed off two North Stafford players and ended up in the net, lifting the visiting Chargers to a 1-0 win in a Virginia AAA girls' soccer quarterfinal in Garrisonville.
After handing No. 1 North Stafford its first loss of the season, the fifth-ranked Chargers (15-7) will play Kellam in Friday's semifinals at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.
"It lasted probably like an eternity waiting for that thing to go in," Casey said. "I thought the keeper had it."
But Casey remembers what it's like to be on the other end of a fluke goal.
During her freshman season, Casey, then Chantilly's starting goalkeeper, had a wet ball slip through her hands for the game's only goal in a quarterfinal loss to Clover Hill.
"I still haven't recovered from my freshman year," Casey said. "That's an awful feeling."
The Wolverines finished 21-1-1.
"To have it come to a simple mistake and a bad bounce of the ball, it's really hard to take that," North Stafford Coach Joanne Szymanski said. "To come all this way undefeated and have one loss take you out of everything is hard."
Weiler Knows the Way
Katherine Weiler didn't play on Lake Braddock's last state championship team, but she obviously knows what it takes to reach the top. The sophomore may have picked it up when, as an eighth grader, she served as the team manager on Lake Braddock's 2003 title-winning squad.
Last night, Weiler scored the tying goal in No. 2 Lake Braddock's uneven 2-1 victory over No. 3 Forest Park in the state quarterfinals at Fairfax High School. Weiler played well at all three positions and her goal, tucked under the crossbar, in the 51st minute equalized for Lake Braddock.
Fifteen minutes later, sophomore forward Katie Dye fought free for the ball just outside the penalty area and knocked it in the lower left corner to put Lake Braddock (14-3-3) on top.
"After coming from behind, the first goal gets the team really pumped up," Weiler said. "We were at the point where we realized how easy it was for us to lose this game."
Forest Park (12-3-3) went ahead when sophomore Latrice Lee scored in the first two minutes of the second half, and the Northwestern Region runners-up had numerous chances to go up two goals or take the lead after Weiler's score, but could not finish.
Butler Stars for Courtland
For most of yesterday's state quarterfinal at No. 4 Potomac Falls, Courtland was pushed to the brink by a persistent Panthers attack. Yet time and again, sophomore goalkeeper Kerri Butler came to the rescue.
Then, after the teams tied at 1 through 100 minutes, the Cougars came through by making all five of their penalty kicks to defeat the Panthers, 5-3, and advance to the AA state semifinals at Radford on Friday.
"It was pretty hot and tiring out there," Butler said. "But it wasn't really a problem. I knew I wasn't doing anything like everyone else on the field, so I could handle it."
Courtland (16-5-2) became the first Region I team to win a state tournament game. Potomac Falls (13-3-3) was the defending state champion.
Potomac Falls attempted 24 shots and controlled the ball for the vast majority of the game but could not take the lead. Courtland freshman Lauren McCoy scored in the 14th minute, and the Panthers responded in the 36th minute on a perfectly placed free kick by Kristina Guinter.
With less than 10 seconds left in the final overtime, Potomac Falls All-Met Lauren Malan got a breakaway, but Butler came off her line and blocked the point-blank shot.
Special correspondent Sean P. Flynn contributed to this report.