Chancellor made a grave defensive mistake when its goalkeeper came out of the box and tried to win a loose ball against Loudoun County striker James Moreno early in the first half of Friday night’s Virginia 4A North region title match. Moreno won possession and danced with the ball as the keeper lay helpless on the ground.
Both teams knew very little about each other leading into the game, but Moreno made sure every Chargers’ defender knew what he was capable of after dropping in a 15-foot strike moments later.
Much has been made about Moreno’s comeback from a serious hamstring injury a year ago. He’s also known for his pedigree, a player whose father is former D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno. But the senior’s performance stood on its own merits. He caused agony in the opponent’s backfield, scoring two goals to lead the Raiders to a 6-0 victory over previously unbeaten Chancellor at Tuscarora in Leesburg.
“We all had the confidence going into the match, knowing that we pretty much handled every team that we’ve played,” Moreno said. “We didn’t know much about them. . . . We just tried to play our game, and it worked out.”
The win marked the 15th straight for the Raiders (19-1-1), and shed light on how dangerous the team figures to be at the 4A state tournament in Lynchburg next weekend.
Tuscarora was the last place Loudoun County lost a game — a 1-0 setback against Tuscarora on April 4 — but the Raiders were 9-1 on the road this spring and played with swagger. Chancellor (18-1-1) didn’t get a quality look at the net in the first half, and Moreno’s goal in the 10th minute put the Chargers on their heels the rest of the way. Chancellor had allowed just eight goals all year before Friday’s blowout.
Senior Andy Levesque sliced through the left side of the Chancellor defense with eight minutes left in the first half, starting his run from 30 yards out and finishing from close in. Later in the half, Ben Mackey sent a 20-yard drive toward the net that nailed the left post and rolled in.
Fellow freshman Bruk Fekade and Mackey’s older brother, Jon Mackey, added goals in the second half. Moreno’s second goal of the night came with seven minutes remaining, when he toyed with two defenders 20 yards out and paused to find an angle to shoot. His low line drive pierced the defense, and he came off to an ovation shortly after.
“That’s my job as a forward, to put the ball in the back of the net,” Moreno said.
In the 2A East region title game, defending state champion George Mason rode a pair of Elliott Mercado goals to a 3-2 win over Riverheads in Staunton.
The Mustangs fell behind early, but Mercado converted a header off a corner kick in the 37th minute to tie the game at 1, and after Darmstadter converted his 36th goal of the year to make it 2-1 early in the second half, Mercado caused a turnover and beat two defenders before scoring on a 16-foot strike to make it 3-1 in the 65th minute. Daniel Donovan made 11 saves for George Mason, which has now won 15 straight.
“It was a real good win for us. We were in a hostile situation,” Mustangs Coach Frank Spinello said. “All the elements were against us, and we overcame it.”
Abu Koroma and Sammy Sergi each scored goals, and Broad Run coasted to a 4-2 win over Albemarle in the 5A North region title game Friday night.
Evan Kalaris and Lucas Martin added a goal for the Spartans (19-1-1), who took home their first region title in four years. Koroma struck first in the 11th minute, and Sergi, who entered the night with 19 goals and 10 assists, made it 2-0 early in the second half. Kalaris gave Broad Run a cushion with about 30 minutes remaining after Albemarle cut the lead to 2-1 — and Martin put the win away with a 35-yard strike with less than two minutes left.
Broad Run will play Hickory next Friday in the 6A state semifinal.
“This has been the goal from the beginning,” Broad Run Coach Jon Hicks said. “They wanted to be the first for the soccer program. . . . They want to do something no other [Broad Run] team has done. . . . We have as good a chance as anybody. They’ve wanted it.” . . .
In the 6A South region final, Grassfield scored with about 30 seconds left in the fourth overtime to escape with a 2-1 win over Hylton. The Bulldogs (16-3-1) will face T.C. Williams in Friday’s 6A state semifinals while Grassfield takes on Washington-Lee.