“We all have great shots, and we’re all smart players,” South County midfielder Abigail Colangelo said. “We just had to get that final finish, that final touch. We perfected it.”
South County will make its first trip to the state championship game Wednesday in Nokesville. It will face Patriot, which beat Cosby in the other Class 6 semifinal behind senior Cassidy Duncan’s goal in the 61st minute.
South County figured it had one of the program’s most talented teams entering this season, so its players set a goal of winning the school’s first region title. The Stallions accomplished that Saturday against Robinson, and they began to set loftier expectations.
Entering Monday’s game, South County Coach Nina Pannoni contacted her former club coach, Jim Rike, for advice. Rike, Robinson’s former coach, told Pannoni to keep everything the same, from the team’s warmup to the postgame conversation.
Pannoni followed that tip, and her Stallions certainly didn’t look flustered. Two minutes 11 seconds into the game, Stallions midfielder Avery Tharrington finished a cross into the box. In the 38th minute, forward Jaidyn Curry found the top right corner of the net on a penalty kick. Every practice, South County drills finishing around the goal off passes from different angles.
“This is the best team I’ve had in my six years,” Pannoni said. “You know you’re going to put somebody in and the level is not going to drop. The 11 who are on the field are amazing players.”
An example of how deep this South County squad is came against McLean (13-3). The Stallions’ starting goalkeeper was in warmups, so Olivia Murray commanded the net on short notice. There were no hiccups.
While Colangelo said the Stallions were nervous entering their region championship game Saturday, they’ve become accustomed to competing in crucial games.
“We’ve been preparing all season,” South County defender Danielle Shahin said. “So I think we’re ready to go win that ring.”
Class 5: Briar Woods advances
Briar Woods won its semifinal over Albemarle, 2-0. Forward Sophie Maltese scored in the first half and assisted on midfielder Allie Harvich’s second-half score. The Falcons will face First Colonial in the championship game Wednesday in Virginia Beach.
Class 4: Dominion coasts
Dominion coasted by Blacksburg, 6-1, in the Class 4 semifinals. Midfielder Julienne Galie scored twice, and forward Brooke Oswald had three assists and a goal. The Titans will play Menchville in the championship game Wednesday in Newport News.
Class 3: Independence surges in second half
Independence scored three goals in the second half of its 4-0 win over Lafayette in the Class 3 semifinals. The Tigers will host Western Albemarle in the championship game Wednesday in Ashburn.