Eighty minutes has not been enough for the Robinson boys’ soccer team during the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament, and it was no different in the championship game against Lake Braddock on Saturday night.
After finishing regulation scoreless, the Rams found themselves in overtime.
And with 1 minute 33 seconds remaining in the second extra period, senior Sam Yardley collected his own rebound, dribbled around the Bruins’ goalkeeper and scored to lift the Rams to the region title with a 1-0 win in Fairfax.
“Once I saw it slide into the net it was unreal,” Yardley said. “It felt like I was in a movie or something. All the fans, home crowd, I love it.”
Robinson (13-3-2) will host Thomas Dale in the state quarterfinals on Tuesday. Lake Braddock (10-9-1) will travel to Cosby, the Central Region champion.
Robinson had been playing a man down for more than 10 minutes after a player was red carded with just less than three minutes left in regulation. But the Rams did not just sit back and give Lake Braddock space. Instead, they pushed forward to look for a winner.
They found it on the counterattack when a long ball bounced near senior Ryan Harmouche. The skillful forward bicycled the ball over his shoulder to Yardley, who was overlapping down the left sideline.
“I knew he was there,” Harmouche said. “Sam’s always there.”
Yardley took a few touches and blistered a shot that forced a diving save. The midfielder continued his run, though, and picked up the loose ball in the box, touched it around the goalkeeper and recovering defenders and calmly put it away.
The win also gave retiring Robinson Coach Jac Cicala another region title in his final season.
“It means so much,” Cicala said. “It really does.”
●TUSCARORA 3, BRIAR WOODS 1: The Huskies got a goal and an assist from junior forward Angel Ceron-Garcia to down their Dulles District rival and claim their first AA Region II title. The second-year school lost in the region final last season.
●MANASSAS PARK 1, CLARKE CO. 0: Jeremias Barrios scored with 10 minutes remaining to lift the defending state champion to its second consecutive Virginia A Region B championship. Manassas Park (19-2-1) will host the Region A runner-up.
Senior forward Tabitha McHale knocked home a rebound in the fourth minute and the Wolverines held on for a 1-0 win in Purcellville.
“We’ve been wanting it and worked hard,” Woodgrove junior defender Bergen Elkjer said. “When we came in here, we knew who to mark, who to get and came out and played our game.”
The Wolverines (21-0-1) will host Grafton, the Region I runner-up, in a state quarterfinal Tuesday. The Raiders (16-4-2) will travel to face Tabb.
Loudoun County sophomore goalie Kelsey Slack made three particularly slick saves. Meantime, Woodgrove sophomore Harleigh Ratcliff saved a sure Loudoun County goal when she headed away a ball near the far goalpost.
The Wolverines made an unexpected run to the AA semifinals last season as a first-year school, but this spring, they’re in a different position. “We’ve come a long way,” Elkjer said.
●STONE BRIDGE 1, W.T. WOODSON 0: Junior forward Murielle Tiernan scored the game’s lone goal midway through the first half to lead the Bulldogs to their second AAA Northern Region title in three seasons. Stone Bridge (16-2-2) will meet Deep Run in the state quarterfinals; the Cavaliers (13-2-5) will travel to face Central Region champion Cosby.
●GEORGE MASON 3, CLARKE CO. 2: The Mustangs won their fifth consecutive A Region B title. Senior Leah Roth and her sister, freshman Ava Roth, scored the game’s first two goals. Junior Hailey Thomas added the deciding goal, a penalty kick late in the first half. Four-time defending state champion George Mason (21-3) will host the Region A runner-up.