Stone Bridge forward Mary Jo Loos already had squandered a golden opportunity to put the Bulldogs ahead in their Virginia AA semifinal Friday against Cave Spring, striking a wide-open shot just wide of the net.
But when she earned a penalty kick with 24 minutes to play, she knew she wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Loos rifled a shot into the right side of the net, lifting Stone Bridge to a 2-1 victory at Radford and sending the Bulldogs to their first state championship game.
"We were excited coming into it," Loos said. "All we had to do was find our game, and we did it."
Stone Bridge (15-4-4) took the lead when forward Shelly Burkett scored in the 22nd minute; the Knights (17-4-2) equalized in the 50th minute on forward Jennifer Harvey's 30-yard free kick.
The Bulldogs will play Courtland, another newcomer to the state title game, in the final Saturday at 1 p.m. The Cougars advanced to the title game with their second consecutive penalty kick victory, defeating Hidden Valley of Roanoke 5-4 in the tie-breaker after a 1-1 game.
In the sixth round of kicks, Cougars goalkeeper Kathleen Underwood got just enough of Titans forward Kelsey Ballard's attempt to send it off the post and wide. Underwood was in goal in place of starter Kerri Butler, who is playing in a tournament with her Olympic Development Program this weekend.
Defender Stacy Fletcher clinched the win for Courtland (17-5-2) with a low shot to the left corner that bounced off the post and in. Hidden Valley finished 18-3-2.
Clarke County Advances
Clarke County sophomore Leslie Hardesty scored twice and had an assist to lead the Eagles to a 5-0 win over Glenvar in a Virginia A girls' semifinal at Radford University.
Sophomore Keely McCall had a goal and an assist, and freshmen Danielle Moyer and Victoria Russell added a goal apiece for the Eagles (19-0), who had 25 shots on goal and 13 corner kicks. Glenvar (13-6) attempted no shots and had one corner kick.
Clarke County, which lost in last year's championship game to George Mason, will play Radford on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the final. The Eagles will try to become the fourth Bull Run District team to win the title in the four years of the Group A championship.
"We've been ready [for the championship game] since we walked off the field last year," Hardesty said. "I'm so excited. This is going to be the highlight of my year."
Radford advanced with a 3-1 win over George Mason, getting two goals from senior Meg Khandan-Barani. Freshman Rachel Kazman scored for George Mason, which will miss the A state final for the first time in the event's four-year history.