Scoring opportunities come few and far between for Lake Braddock defender Rachel Moody. When they have arisen, mostly off corner kicks, her zeal has often left her in a hurry and, ultimately, out of position once the ball soars into her vicinity.
As the Bruins lined up for a corner kick with less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation of Friday’s Virginia 6A North region girls’ soccer quarterfinal against Robinson, Moody attacked the goal with a more calculated approach, pausing for a few extra seconds before sprinting toward the net. This time, after the ball bounced off the crossbar, Moody found herself in the perfect spot for her first goal of the season in Lake Braddock’s 1-0 home win in Burke.
“Usually I get so excited and run too far past the ball, but recently I’ve been trying to time my runs and hold off some,” Moody said. “I was going in for a header, and then when the ball hit off the crossbar, I saw it near me, and I knew I had just one shot to make it count.”
Each team earned its share of opportunities during Friday’s game. Initially, Robinson (7-8-2) served as the offensive aggressor with its forwards swarming the box and peppering Bruins goalie Jessica Berlin with a flurry of shots. The freshman keeper didn’t break, swallowing up each of the Rams’ 10 total attempts with her sure hands.
Berlin and Moody “train well,” Bruins Coach Adam Soos said. “When they train on the field, they are very disciplined, very coachable and very dependable. They’ve really grown as freshmen.”
At times, though, Soos said his youthful bunch, which featured six freshman starters Friday, played tentatively, settling for a possession style of play rather than attacking vertically.
The second half brought a more aggressive Lake Braddock approach, but many of the team’s opportunities were turned away by Robinson sophomore goalie Tara Khayam, including a diving deflection that thwarted a hard shot from the right side by the Bruins in the 70th minute.
On the ensuing corner kick, however, Lake Braddock (13-5) finally broke through. Katy Kunc’s corner kick was deflected and landed in front of Moody, who knocked the ball in.
With the Rams scrambling to tie the game, the Bruins again relied on Berlin, whose fearless style of play resulted in nine critical saves and Lake Braddock’s seventh straight win.
“I felt like we communicated well together on defense and began connecting on our passes on offense,” Berlin said. “We knew one mess-up could cost us the game, so we tried to stay poised and play within ourselves.”
The victory advanced the Bruins to Tuesday’s semifinal on the road against Battlefield, which beat Westfield, 3-0, in another quarterfinal Friday.