Thursday proved to be a wild night of Virginia girls’ soccer conference championship games. One contest needed two rounds of penalty kicks, the other two were decided by 2-1 margins and all three ended with the winners avenging an early-season loss to the same rival.

CHANTILLY 3, WESTFIELD 3 (Chantilly wins 7-6 on PKs)

Laila Gray helped the Chargers outlast Westfield. (John McDonnell / The Washington Post) Laila Gray helped the Chargers outlast Westfield. (John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Riding the confidence built from beating rival Chantilly last month for the first time since 2011, Westfield roared to a quick 2-0 lead. But the Chargers responded with goals by Laila Gray, who has scored 10 times in the last six games, and Kaitlyn Forsht to tie the game before halftime.

“Laila has been playing ridiculous of late,” Chargers Coach Melissa Bibbee said. “The first goal, she had no angle at the near post, so the goal keeper came out and tried to stop her. In those situations, most players would try to play the far post, but somehow, Laila played the ball off the outside of her right foot and snuck it under their keeper. It was pretty amazing.”

The Bulldogs immediately stole back the momentum just one minute into the second half, as speedy freshman Jada Massey scored. Chantilly was then forced to change its formation to a 4-3-2 after Abby Gashel drew her second yellow card and was subsequently ejected. The physical match featured seven total yellow cards and more than 30 fouls. Despite being down a player, the Chargers tied the score once again on a goal by Gray.

On the other end of the field, sophomore goalie Sara Margarida helped counter Westfield’s opportune offense and push the game into penalty kicks following two overtimes. Both teams made all but one of their penalty kicks, forcing a second round. A Westfield miss opened the door for Chantilly freshman Katie Abt to redeem her misfire in the first round. Abt calmly netted the decisive score, securing the Chargers’ third straight league title and one of the top seeds in next week’s 6A North region tournament. Chantilly opens play at home at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Madison.



Even as Lake Braddock stumbled to a 1-3 start this season, Bruins Coach Adam Soos didn’t necessarily panic. With seven of his starters being freshman or sophomores, Soos knew it could take time for the necessary chemistry and skills to develop amid the wealth of talent on his roster.

Now, with the playoffs in full swing, the Bruins have reeled off eight wins in their last nine games, including Thursday’s Conference 7 tournament final win against W.T. Woodson.

“We’ve had time now to make progress as a group,” said Soos, whose team lost 4-2 to Woodson earlier in the year. “At the beginning of the season, freshmen really are freshmen, but they’ve done a lot of growing up and are playing beyond their years at the right time.”

One of those freshman, Haley Hopkins, stepped up in a big way Thursday. The forward scored her first goal on a counter midway through the first half before putting the Bruins up 2-0 by cleaning up an assist off a set piece by Katy Kunc. Lake Braddock’s defense gave up a late goal to Woodson but held strong against the Cavaliers’ potent offense despite being without junior midfielder Michelle Green (knee injury).

The Bruins will open 6A North Region tournament play Wednesday at home against Osbourn.


For Washington-Lee Coach Eddy Matos, the final portion of Thursday’s Conference 6 title game against Yorktown was “the longest 10 minutes I’ve experienced in a long time.”

With the Generals clinging to a 2-1 lead and thoughts of their last three meetings with the Patriots — who had outscored them 12-0 — dancing in his head, Matos urged his players to clamp down defensively and rely on their possession style of play until the end.

“We knew Yorktown preferred an attacking style, so we tried to emphasize the possession game and to not get rattled with their physical play,” Matos said. “They are a very fast team but we felt if we could play our style and minimize our mistakes, we could compete.”

With two goals by sophomore Hayley Roy, the Generals clinched their first conference/district title since 2006, according to the Washington-Lee coaching staff.

As a result, Washington-Lee clinched one of the top seeds in next week’s Virginia 6A North region tournament, where the Generals will open play Wednesday at home against Centreville.