In the aftermath of Tuesday’s Virginia AA Region II girls’ soccer quarterfinal, Briar Woods junior Kaileen Pritchard carefully slipped off her socks, revealing several long strips of orange tape on each of her legs. At first glance, most would probably pass off the adhesive bands as a decorative flash of team spirit, but for those who know Pritchard, they are another representation of the grit that’s a big reason behind the Falcons’ deep postseason run.
The junior midfielder’s hustle was on display for most of Tuesday’s contest, resulting in her second goal of the season and 2-0 victory against Charlottesville during a dominant offensive performance in Ashburn.
The Falcons advance to host Tuscarora (Va.), which beat Kettle Run 1-0 in overtime, in Thursday’s semifinal.
“We’ve been working on our possession game and tactics and Kaileen really came through for us,” Falcons Coach Ann Vierkorn said. “She brought that same intensity she always brings and scored on a nice hustle play.”
Pritchard’s aggressive play proved contagious. The Falcons’ defense kept the ball off its side of the field, setting up the offense to outshoot the Black Knights 27-3. After Briar Woods peppered Charlottesville goalie Geneviene Riley with a barrage of close-range shots, the Falcons found the back of the net in the game’s 24th minute when junior forward Emma Quirk headed in her ninth goal off a free kick by Rayven Conner,
The scoring opportunities continued to flow in the first half, including in the 35th minute when McKensey Ziegler pushed ahead for a breakaway. After Ziegler and Riley collided, the ball squirted free, allowing Pritchard to swoop in from the right side and knock a shot into the left pocket of the net.
That Pritchard was there for the rebound came as no surprise to her coach, who has seen Pritchard elevate her play throughout her first season of varsity play.
Thanks to her strong work ethic and infectious personality, Pritchard has seen her role increase to where Vierkorn didn’t hesitate to insert her into the lineup when Ziegler and Quirk recently missed time with injuries. This, while unresolved leg ailments have hindered proper blood flow in Pritchard’s legs, resulting in several doctor visits and the orange-tape treatment for better circulation.
“I know I don’t have the same technical skills as some other players, but I won’t ever give up on a play, no matter how I feel or how tired I may be,” Pritchard said. “When we talk about goals before the game, I usually say I’m going to fight for the inch and always give my all.”
In other Region II action, Woodgrove beat Western Albemarle, 5-1, to advance to Thursday’s semifinal against Fauquier.