Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Lindsay Bowers's juke and shot is quickly becoming the most deadly soccer move in Virginia, and it doesn't even matter which foot she has on the ball.
Lake Braddock's senior midfielder broke a tie in the 31st minute Friday by beating her defender with her left foot and then lofting a shot with her right that sailed over Princess Anne's goalkeeper to give the second-ranked Bruins a 2-1 victory in the Virginia AAA semifinal doubleheader at Christopher Newport University.
Bowers, who has scored in four of the past five games for the Bruins (15-3-2), used the same move to defeat Chantilly in overtime in the Northern Region final -- but she took that shot with her left.
"I'm not thinking about what I'm doing when I make the move," Bowers said. "It just happens, but when I shoot it, I know it's going in."
The Bruins, the 2003 state champion, will play Eastern Region champion Kellam (21-0-3) for the title Saturday at 3 p.m. at Christopher Newport. Kellam upended No. 5 Chantilly, 2-1, in the first game of the doubleheader.
Against Princess Anne (19-4), Lake Braddock's defense also played well, holding Eastern Region player of the year Chichi Nweke to just one shot. It was a masterful effort past three Bruins' defenders for the Cavaliers' lone goal, three minutes after Lake Braddock freshman Aline Le put the Bruins on top. Bowers's score followed three minutes later.
In the first semifinal, after falling behind 1-0, Chantilly roared back in the second half with a withering attack. The Chargers (15-8) took control of the game in the 65th minute when All-Met Player of the Year Amy Smerdzinski touched in a header off a free kick from sophomore defender Kaitlin O'Connor to tie the score. Kellam did not take a shot in the half until two minutes after Chantilly's equalizer, and the Chargers only allowed one more the rest of the game.
But that shot proved to be the difference. With 10 minutes to go, Kellam junior midfielder Katie Schleyer broke free from a pack of players in the penalty area and delivered on her chance.
"I thought for a moment there we had lost momentum," Kellam Coach Mario Hurdle said. "To get that second goal that late in the game was huge. We broke their backs with that one."
After the goal, Chantilly continued on the attack behind Smerdzinski, O'Connor and junior Mary Casey, but Kellam held behind a strong effort from its Old Dominion-bound goalkeeper, Lauren Tupman.
"It's hard to look back on the game and realize what you could have done differently," said Smerdzinski, who this spring became the first girls' soccer player to have her number (1) retired.
In spite of Kellam's undefeated record, Lake Braddock will have history on its side in the final. A Northern Region team has won 19 of the 21 previous state championships.