When Madison opened the Class 6 state championship game by controlling possession and getting a few good looks at the First Colonial goal, it had to be an encouraging sign for the Warhawks fans in attendance. That was what the team had done all year, and it was an auspicious start to its biggest game of the season.
The Warhawks kept it up for most of the game’s 80 minutes, but the result was different this time. The ball didn’t find the back of the net as often as it normally did and, for the first time all year, the Warhawks lost.
“There was at least seven or eight [goals] that we missed by an inch,” Coach Devon Dowell said. “They were just right there. You get unlucky sometimes.”
The near-misses made the loss tougher to swallow, especially for the seniors. Their once-perfect season ended with a runner-up trophy.
“We had the ball down at [First Colonial’s] end, taking shots, doing what we wanted to do,” senior defender Abby Fusca said. “It’s just really frustrating.”
It was the Warhawks’ second consecutive trip to the state tournament. Last year, they lost to Kellam, 1-0, in the semifinals.
The Warhawks will bring back a lot of talent next year but will lose even more experience. Three seniors — Fusca, forward Rachel Jackson and defender Natalie Farrell — had been on the team since their freshman year, when the Warhawks barely topped .500.
“It’s pretty incredible that our seniors did all this to help turn the program around and now back-to-back trips [to states],” junior midfielder Julia Leas said. “We all put Madison on the map together.”
Madison came up just short Saturday, but three local teams did take home a championship trophy.
Briar Woods topped Douglas Freeman, 2-0, for the Class 5 title, finishing its season with just one loss.
“It’s surreal,” Falcons Coach Kimmy Moss said. “This team is so special. You have to have a special group, and we’ve been like a family. I can’t believe it happened.”
In Class 4, Loudoun County won its third title in four years. Afterward, Coach Olivia Mackey called it a “Cinderella story” because of some rough patches the team faced. The Raiders entered the state tournament as the Region C runner-up but took down Jefferson Forest, Blacksburg and Courtland to claim the title.
George Mason continued its run of state championships in the Class 2 title game, winning the program’s 11th consecutive championship. The team’s three losses were the most for the Mustangs since 2013, but they still became state champions with a 1-0 shutout of Appomattox County.
1. Madison (19-1-2) Last ranked: 1
Two first-half goals doomed the Warhawks in the Class 6 championship game, their only loss this season.
2. Briar Woods (21-1-2) LR: 3
The Falcons’ dynamic offense had four players score in the state tournament, including multi-goal games from Abby Maltese and Annie Sorando.
3. W.T. Woodson (16-2-3) LR: 7
The Cavaliers’ defense came up big all season, and it did so again in the state semifinals before Madison advanced on penalty kicks.
4. Loudoun County (19-5-1) LW: NR
Brooke Kirstein, Devon Balac and Taylor Kibble scored in the Raiders’ 3-1 win over Courtland in the state championship game.
5. Chantilly (14-5-2) LR: 2
The Chargers ended a strong season with back-to-back losses, falling to Madison in the regional title game and W.T. Woodson in the state quarterfinals.
6. Potomac Falls (19-5-1) LR: 4
The Panthers couldn’t get on the board against Albemarle in the state quarterfinals.
7. Yorktown (17-2-1) LR: 5
The Patriots’ season ended in penalty kicks against Chantilly.
8. Patriot (18-1-0) LR: 6
The Pioneers’ magical season ended in double overtime against Madison.
9. Woodgrove (16-2-2) LR: 8
The Wolverines couldn’t carry the momentum from their regional championship over to a 1-0 loss in the state quarterfinals.
10. George Mason (16-3-0) LW: NR
The Mustangs continued their run of dominance in Class 2 by winning their 11th straight state title.
On the bubble: Woodbridge, Battlefield, T.C. Williams