On a September afternoon so sunny and sticky it felt like mid-July, “warming up” at Witter Field in Alexandria didn’t require a whole lot other than standing outside for more than 10 minutes.
That was good news for the Sidwell Friends girls’ soccer team because 10 minutes was about all they had to prepare after arriving for its game against Bishop Ireton after the team’s bus broke down at M and Wisconsin. The Quakers rolled up at about 4:35 for a 4 p.m. start.
And while Sidwell somehow managed to turn a short time of warmup into a 1-0 halftime lead, it was Ireton that stormed back for the win in the second half thanks in large part to sophomore Lilly Weber, who tallied two goals and an assist to propel the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory.
Despite the abbreviated warmup, it took Sidwell (0-2) less than 10 minutes to grab that 1-0 lead, which came by dint of senior forward Tori Dunn’s dead-angle shot from the corner, which floated just out of the keeper’s reach and just under the crossbar.
“I have to commend my kids,” Sidwell Coach Ryan Alexander said. “They came out with a 10-minute warmup and got focused for a good team. I thought they put their best foot forward.”
The Quakers’ late arrival looked like an advantage in that first half as Ireton appeared a step slow after spending so much time in the grueling Northern Virginia sun before the game. While all the Cardinals (1-1-2) had sought as much shade as they could find during the delay, Weber had taken a unique approach, waiting out part of the post-warmup pre-kickoff delay huddled jokingly in the tiny patch of shade created by the back of the Ireton bench.
The respite served her well as an energetic Weber was a step ahead of the Sidwell defense throughout the second half.
It was Weber who took a quick touch off a well-placed ball from Megan Riley and sent the game-tying goal to the back post just a few minutes into the second half. Ten minutes later, she assisted on classmate Grace Hersey’s go-ahead goal. Then Weber struck again, putting the game out of reach with just over 10 minutes to go by hammering home a rebound of a Grace Cunningham chance to push the score to 3-1.
“I feel like the delay affected us a lot,” Weber said. “We were just talking and fooling around for a while waiting for them, but right when they got off the bus we were ready to play.”
“It was two different teams out there in the first and second half,” Ireton Coach Gino Leon added. “I don’t know if it was the craziness with the delay or what, but we didn’t play well in the first half. In the second half, you saw flashes of what we can really do, some really nice flow.”