Clarke County 4, Radford 2
Within two dazzling minutes, the Clarke County girls' soccer team turned a desperate situation in Saturday's state title game into a victory. The Eagles scored three goals over a 1-minute 57-second span and were on their way to claiming the Virginia A championship with a 4-2 victory over Radford.
Freshman Danielle Moyer scored Clarke County's first goal in the 53rd minute to cut the deficit to 2-1, then tied the game about 90 seconds later by scoring off a rebound. Then, on the Eagles' next possession, sophomore Keely McCall scored to give Clarke County the lead for good.
"They just needed to get their foot back in the door," Clarke County Coach Laurie Harrell said. "Then they knew they had it."
Clarke County (20-0) completed a perfect season, finishing the year having outscored opponents 130-5, and became the first soccer team from the Berryville school to win a state title. Since the Virginia High School League started the Group A girls' soccer tournament four years ago, a Bull Run District team has won every title. (George Mason won in 2002 and 2004, and Brentsville -- now a Group AA school -- won in 2003.)
But Radford, which beat George Mason on Friday afternoon to become the first team from outside the Bull Run District to advance to the championship game, immediately gave Clarke County trouble in Saturday's final. Despite a 21-8 overall deficit in shots on goal, the Bobcats (17-1) led for more than half of the game.
The Eagles faced their first deficit of the year when Bobcats freshman Lilly Benck's lob shot over the goalkeeper's head gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Things looked bleak for Clarke County in the second half when Bobcats senior Meg Khandan-Barani scored on a breakaway in the 48th minute for a 2-0 lead. But the speedy Moyer -- who won the Virginia A track and field title in the 1,600 meters here on June 4 -- turned around the game.
On her first goal, Moyer got open to take a pass from sophomore Jill Hobbs and rifle her shot into the right side of the goal. Then she got free again and found herself in front of the net with an open shot after sophomore Taylor Warner's shot bounced off the goalkeeper and evened the score at 2.
In the 55th minute, McCall scored the game-winner off a deflection, igniting a loud, orange-clad crowd that made the 220-mile trip from Berryville for the championships.
Sophomore Leslie Hardesty added an insurance goal in the 68th minute, and sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Peake capped the victory by blocking a penalty kick in the last 30 seconds of the game.
"I think our hearts sank a little bit when they scored that second goal," Moyer said. "But we stayed in it. I think it shows just how talented a team we are, to be down two-nothing and be able to win 4-2."