Chantilly senior midfielder Sammie Shifflette is accustomed to scoring from close range. So when she deposited a curving shot from just above the goalie box into the top left-hand corner of the net less than seven minutes into the Virginia AAA Concorde District final Friday afternoon at No. 4 Westfield, the goal both electrified the fourth-ranked Chargers and deflated the No. 2 Bulldogs in Chantilly’s eventual 2-1 victory.
“I haven’t really taken a shot like that in a long time,” said Shifflette, who initially thought her attempt would sail wide. “I just kind of saw some space. Usually my shots are weak, but I felt it.”
“That’s probably [Shifflette’s] biggest strength, her ability to dribble the ball in space,” Chantilly Coach Melissa Bibbee said. “We wanted Sammie to dribble in the center, make them commit to her, which should open up one of our forwards. I think they respected our forwards too much [and left her open]. It was a great shot.”
The championship win marked the second district title in a row for Chantilly (10-2-3), which enters the Northern Region tournament next week as the Concorde’s top seed.
When Chargers sophomore Kayla Christian scored about five minutes after Shifflette, Westfield (13-1-1) was well on its way to its first loss of the season. Christian took a pass from the midfield and fired a shot into the right corner.
“She just kind of dribbled toward the center and kept dribbling,” Bibbee said. “It’s really hard to slow down a kid that’s that fast.”
Westfield junior Tori Donahue scored with nearly 28 minutes remaining, and the Bulldogs had a flurry of opportunities in the final minutes. Chantilly’s starters in the back, a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior with varying club backgrounds, have provided cohesion in front of freshman goalkeeper Sara Margarida, who has been increasingly effective the past few games, Bibbee said.
Westfield, whose only non-win during the season had been a 2-2 tie with Chantilly on April 25, played without junior all-district goalkeeper Katie Roberts, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the semifinals Wednesday.
“It takes 80 minutes of soccer to win, and we only played 40,” Westfield Coach Kristi Williams said. “But I thought that the kids showed mettle and courage in the second half. There have been times in the year when we’ve been down, and we’ve always had enough time on the clock to pull it out. Tonight, we ran out of clock.”