Kellam 2, Lake Braddock 0
Lake Braddock sophomore Stephanie Hylton paced the sideline with her hands at her sides at the beginning of the second half, dissatisfaction written on her face. Hylton hurt her hip in the first half on a hard tackle, and her frustration and injury typified the Bruins' afternoon in a 2-0 loss to Kellam in the Virginia AAA girls' soccer state championship at Christopher Newport College.
Kellam used a strong counterattack to score two second-half goals and a bend-but-not-break defense to finish the season undefeated and become the first team from outside Northern Virginia to win the title in the tournament's 22-year history.
Behind almost constant pressure from senior midfielder Lindsay Bowers and strong backline play by Leslie Cabe, Lake Braddock (15-4-2) dominated possession and the attack zone, particularly in the second half. The Bruins posted 12 second-half shots, but not many were quality opportunities. And Kellam, as it had done in a 2-1 semifinal victory over Chantilly on Friday, stayed calm and waited for opportunities of its own.
Those chances for the Eastern Region champion Knights (22-0-3) came midway through the second half. In the 62nd minute, Kellam junior defender Brittany Gloshen made a beautiful pass to her sister Tiffany, who drove by Lake Braddock's keeper and shot into the open net for Kellam's first goal. Eleven minutes later, Brittany Gloshen started another run, sending a ball to senior forward Jordon Holway, who crossed to Shawn Jackson to put the Knights up 2-0.
"It's just terrible because we were up there the whole time," Cabe said. "They got their breaks on their counterattack and they capitalized on them. It was so unfortunate because we played so hard."
It didn't help the Bruins that they were playing short-handed. Senior forward Candace Hollis and sophomore midfielder Mary Carter Jacocks both missed the game because of injuries suffered in the Northern Region playoffs. Hylton was able to re-enter the game 10 minutes into the second half, but her effectiveness was limited.
"It hurt us a lot to play in that kind of heat without some of our fastest and most physical players," Lake Braddock Coach Liz Pike said. "But we have no excuses. We came out and knew what we were up against Kellam and we didn't finish when we could have."
Lake Braddock's best chances came between Kellam's goals, off the feet of Lindsay Bowers and her sister Kristin. In the 73rd minute, Kristin Bowers had a strong shot turned aside by Kellam goalkeeper Lauren Tupman. Thirty seconds later, Lindsay Bowers hit the crossbar on a shot from the left side and the rebound chance went high.
After the game, Kellam Coach Mario Hurdle took out a copy of his game plan and ticked off his team's accomplishments, singling out his defense for the strongest praise. His players agreed.
"We were nervous, shaking in the second half," Tiffany Gloshen said. "They pushed us and the ball up so hard. We all just held our own. I think we deserve it. Our defense is unbeatable."