Woodgrove girls’ lacrosse Coach Bob Fuller could tell that his senior goalkeeper, Bailey Carver, had something on her mind Friday night as she warmed up before her team’s home Virginia AA Northern Section championship against Loudoun Valley.
“I’ve known her long enough; I can read her face,” said Fuller, who approached Carver before the start of the game and asked what was up. Carver told him that she had mixed feelings about playing the neighboring Vikings for a third time this season, another chapter in the draining series pitting friends turned overly-familiar rivals.
“I said look at it this way,” Fuller said. “The little town of Purcellville produces two teams that two out of three years go to the state tournament. Win or lose, we both go on. Go out and have some fun.”
So on a blustery, flag-flapping evening, the Wolverines beat Loudoun Valley for the third time this season, each result closer than the last. This time it was an 11-10 victory in which the defending section champions could never stretch their three-goal second-half lead and in the end almost relinquished it.
The Vikings (16-4) had a chance to tie in the final minute when junior Anna Munford came up with a loose ball on the defensive end, raced downfield and passed to sophomore Samantha Mendiguren, whose shot was thwarted by Carver.
“Our defense was kind of off the whole game, to be honest,” Carver said. “They really wanted it, so they just attacked really hard. Playing them, every game is different. And every game we play them it feels like it gets closer. It’s an emotional game against Valley.”
“We know them better, they know us better,” Woodgrove senior Olivia Becker said. “It gets tougher every game.”
Despite it being so late in the season, Carver thinks the Wolverines could use the practice time for conditioning, defense and more crisp ball movement. Becker concurs.
“Just making things as perfect as we can get them is definitely going to be a big help,” Becker said. “Playing triple-A schools is much different than playing teams in our district. They just seem like they have a lot more all together, and a lot of them have been playing for years together. But we feel really confident about it this year, too.”