As narrow losses and uncharacteristic lapses poked deflating holes into the expectations surrounding the Woodbridge girls’ soccer team during the early portion of the season, Vikings Coach Scott Kerns drew encouragement from the fact that, soon, May would arrive.
It was then that three of his top players would be cemented back into the rotation after splitting their time on the international soccer and high school track circuits. And it was then that Kerns held a meeting in which he went against the “one game at a time” adage and instead told his players to look forward. The new Virginia playoff format provided an opportunity for Woodbridge, and Kerns stressed the importance of “winning now” to better position themselves for home-field advantage when it mattered most.
The Vikings suffered a close loss to start the month of May, but since then, they have won eight straight games, none more important or emphatic than the latest — a 7-2 rout of Thomas Dale in Monday night’s Virginia 6A South region quarterfinals. Woodbridge advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals, in which it will host Cosby, which defeated Forest Park in another quarterfinal.
The trio at the center of Woodbridge’s late-season turnaround again served as the spark on Monday. Hanna Hannesdottir, a Pittsburgh signee who also plays on Iceland’s U-19 national team, scored two goals; Jewel Christian, who has committed to run track at North Carolina next season, had a goal and an assist; and junior Kady Badham, who also runs track in the spring, added another goal and an assist.
“We’ve been playing with more confidence,” Christian said, “and a game like this shows that when we work hard and show how much we want it, good things will happen.”
Initially, the valiant effort of Thomas Dale goalie Ally Haas (14 saves) thwarted several of Woodbridge’s 25 total shots on goal. But when Christian fired a left-footed kick through the defense and into the net in the 20th minute, the Vikings’ offensive floodgates opened.
Behind their blazing speed, Badham and Annie Boros added goals to make it 3-0 at halftime. Meanwhile, the defense limited the Knights to just four trips past midfield and one shot attempt.
“It wasn’t easy at first, but you could see it coming with the looks we were getting,” Kerns said. “We’ve got players who distribute the ball well and use their speed to their advantage.”
Hannesdottir demonstrated this at the second half’s outset, taking the opening kickoff downfield and racing past the defense for the first of two goals in a three-minute span.
The Knights answered with two quick scores midway through the half, but Woodbridge (13-4) squelched any momentum as Hanna Oliver and Boros netted late goals.
“I think we know each other better and we’re a better team at this point in the year,” Badham said. “We believe we can accomplish what we’ve set out to do.”
In Class 5A North region action, Briar Woods routed Massaponax, 6-0, to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals, where it will face Marshall, a 3-1 winner over North Stafford.
On the other side of the bracket, Stone Bridge rode Emily Fox’s goal to a 1-0 victory against Mountain View, while Tuscarora held off Albemarle, 1-0. The Conference 14 rivals will meet Wednesday night at Stone Bridge in the semifinals.
Dominion downed Chancellor, 6-0, and will host E.C. Glass on Wednesday in the 4A North region semifinals.
In Class 2A East region quarterfinal action, George Mason easily defeated Buffalo Gap, 5-0, to continue its quest for a seventh straight state title.