Before every game, Yorktown Coach Vicky Brunt is faced with the same dilemma: Who to start at goalie?
The Patriots possess two capable keepers in senior Sophie Frank (24 saves) and junior Monica Thom (29 saves), and with the team having allowed just five goals all season, picking one starter can be a tough task.
But then Brunt considers the alternative.
“It’s a battle to choose who should be my top keeper, but in years past we’ve had teams where we’re great but we don’t have such a great keeper,” Brunt said. “So we’re fortunate to have that dilemma because our whole team is pretty strong at every position, all the way back to the goalkeeper.”
This balance and wealth of talent has manifested in a dominant way. Before Tuesday’s 5-2 win against Oakton, the Patriots had not allowed a goal during the month of April, outscoring opponents, 48-0, in seven games.
Leading the offensive charge are Meghan Flynn (20 goals) and Emma Shumway (15 goals). Flynn, a senior forward, uses an aggressive approach in attacking the goal and finishing opportunities, while Shumway has bounced back from an injury-plagued sophomore season to excel at the midfield position this year.
“Meghan is the type of player that will run at the goal, hold people off and finishes really well,” Brunt said. “Emma is just mentally keyed in all the time, cleaning up plays with her nose for the ball.”
Alongside Shumway in the midfield is senior captain Innis Hitt, whom Brunt says is “the glue that holds it all together.”
In her four years of varsity play, Hitt has played at just about every position, filling the role of utility player while providing a calming presence for the Patriots.
“I’ve always kind of been everywhere on the field, ready to play wherever the team needs me,” said Hitt, who has four goals on the season. “I try to help in any way so we can take advantage of all of our opportunities on the field and keep everyone in good spirits.”
The Patriots experienced a similar dominant run last year en route to the Virginia AAA National District title before losing to Stone Bridge in the Northern Region semifinals. The defeat left Yorktown one win shy of a state tournament berth and serves as the motivator for this season, one that has seen the team employ a mantra that matches its opportune approach.
“Before every game, we always say to each other to play this game like it’s your last game and pretend it’s the state final,” Hitt said. “That’s our goal, so every game is preparation for hopefully reaching that goal.”
The Stone Bridge tandem of Murielle Tiernan and Ashley Herndon have combined for 10 goals and 10 assists during the Bulldogs’ four-game win streak. . . . Westfield can clinch its first Virginia AAA Concorde District regular-season title with a win in Monday’s contest against Oakton. . . . Loudoun County will close the regular season against three of the area’s top teams in No. 7 Briar Woods, Dominion and defending AA state champ Woodgrove.
1. Stone Bridge (10-0-2) LW: 1
2. Westfield (12-0-1) LW: 2
3. Battlefield (13-1) LW: 3
4. Chantilly (8-2-2) LW: 4
5. Yorktown (10-1) LW: 5
6. Forest Park (9-3-1) LW: 7
7. Briar Woods (9-2-1) LW: 6
8. Woodbridge (11-2) LW: 8
9. Loudoun County (8-0-3) LW: 9
10. Tuscarora (Va.) (9-0-3) LW: 10
(Records through Tuesday)