LYNCHBURG — In what was possibly the most perplexing game of her young career, Dominion sophomore forward Breanna Mitchell watched a near goal sail past the left post during the opening minute of overtime in Friday’s Virginia 4A state semifinal against Tabb. It was her ninth shot of the day, and like the previous eight, it had a deflating effect.
“It usually goes in the goal,” said Mitchell, who entered the game with 26 goals.
The scoreless match dragged on through overtime when Mitchell, the fastest player on the field by a wide margin, found herself all alone again up the left sideline. But instead of pushing through to the net like she had all afternoon, Mitchell cut back inside and crossed the ball to sophomore teammate Kayla Abel.
The feed was right on the money, and so was Abel’s shot. The goal from 10 yards out late in overtime lifted Dominion to a 1-0 win over Tabb, continuing the Titans’ first trip to the state tournament in thrilling fashion in Lynchburg.
“We all came together at the end, to see that pay off after such a long battle in overtime especially,” Abel said, “is amazing.”
Dominion will meet Jefferson Forest for the 4A state title Saturday, a week after the Titans beat the Cavaliers, 3-1, to win their first 4A North region final. They had to claw in order to set up the rematch.
The Titans (20-5-1) missed a golden scoring opportunity in the opening minute after one of their forwards clanked a shot off the post. The frustration only lingered from there. Dominion was never threatened – Tabb had just two shots on goal and never controlled the possession – yet the Titans watched countless scoring opportunities come up short.
The Titans, who notched 20 shots, needed just one. After Abel’s goal went in, she was ambushed with a hug from Mitchell, and the rest of the team swarmed in.
“I loved seeing it,” Mitchell said. “We’re starting five, six players that we’re going to be losing. So it’s going to be a big loss next year. We’ve never been this far so it’s good to keep going, keep going.”
George Mason’s Virginia 2A girls’ soccer state semifinal at Salem High began in familiar fashion — with a Claire Trevisan goal in the opening minute. And it ended in a 10-0 shutout of Graham High, George Mason’s 16th shutout this season.
Trevisan’s score came off a Kate Mills assist just 25 seconds into the contest.
The Mustangs scored five more times in the first 15 minutes to quickly put the game out of reach. Trevisan finished with three goals and two assists to up her season totals to 44 and 47, respectively. Ava Roth and and Erica Schneider each added two goals, while Camille Rice tallied a goal and two assists.
The victory marked another dominant performance for a team Coach Jennifer Parsons said features one of her youngest yet deepest groups in the past seven years.
“We’ve definitely had some strong teams in the past, but this year we have so much depth that we’re able to make changes in the lineup and still keep playing at a high level,” Parsons said. “We’re really fortunate in that way, and there’s definitely something unique about this group.”
As the Mustangs (23-0) vie for their seventh straight state title on Saturday, they have a chance to further distinguish themselves as the only team in that stretch to finish undefeated.
The feat won’t come easy, though. Awaiting the Mustangs in Saturday’s 2 p.m. title game at Radford University is Maggie Walker, a 3-0 winner against Radford in the other 2A state semifinal.
George Mason beat Maggie Walker, 2-1, in the 2A East region final earlier this month, marking the only game this season in which an opponent has come within three goals of the Mustangs.
In a 3A girls’ soccer state semifinal, Blacksburg used two early goals to hold off Champe, 2-1, and advance to the state final in Lynchburg. Friday’s result ended a brilliant late season run by the Knights (8-13-2), who rallied from a midseason slump to win the Conference 28 title and reach the 3A East region final despite having no seniors and just two juniors.
Blacksburg scored two goals within the first 10 minutes Friday and led 2-0 at half. Champe rallied 15 minutes into the second half after freshman midfielder Blair Thompson headed in a corner kick. Champe had a number of other set-piece opportunities in the second half.
— Brandon Parker contributed to this report