By Owen Gotimer
Aldie (May 16, 2015) – In one of the most highly anticipated soccer games of the year, the John Champe High School and Loudoun Valley High School girls varsity soccer teams did not disappoint in an energetic, overtime game in Aldie on May 15. With a second half and two overtime periods dominated by the Knights’ offense, the Vikings’ defense battled to the final minute as the game ended in a tie, 0-0.
“The whole game we were pumped up. This has been a rivalry here for the last two years,” Loudoun Valley head coach Kerry Davidson said. “Last year we lost two games to them in overtime sessions so we didn’t want to really have to go to overtime. We’re a little bit banged up and hurt, so we had some key players on the sideline cheering us on. Having that energy and that life and wanting to play for those folks was part of the emotion.”
A rather slow first half was almost forgotten about by fans as the second half was filled with shots on goal, fast break opportunities, incredible saves and loud outbursts from players and fans on both sides.
In the 64th minute, John Champe sophomore midfielder Blair Thompson kicked a ball off the goal post, north of the Loudoun Valley goal and physical play inside the Vikings’ box gave the Knights a corner.
John Champe junior midfielder Julie Cumins took the corner, sending a perfectly placed ball onto the goal line where it was met by Thompson on a header attempt that sailed across the goal line. However, the referee saw a handball and awarded the Vikings the ball as the game remained tied.
“It was tough because we saw chance after chance go by the post, the keeper was making saves, two goals were called back,” John Champe head coach David Madlin said. “We thought the first one, particularly, the header off the corner kick, was a goal.”
Needing only a tie to lock up the No. 1 seed in Conference 28, the Knights did not back down from their attack; but the Vikings’ defense would not surrender either.
“Our defense deserves a huge round of applause. These girls really stepped up and played their hearts out,” Davidson said. “To their credit, most of our defenders are not true defenders. We’ve had to make them. They’re doing position work they’re not comfortable with, and I can’t be more proud of the man-marking, the defensive tracking, the speed matchups.”
In the 76th minute, a speed matchup seemed to favor John Champe as Thompson made another run for the net, but was called offside.
“The mindset was to play our normal game because we knew we were good enough to win. We certainly weren’t going to sit back and defend,” Madlin said. “As the game unfolded, we felt like we had the domination, we felt like if anyone was going to score it was going to be us. We weren’t too concerned about defending or protecting a result, we thought ‘we’re going to go win this.’ There’s a rivalry developed. Our girls wanted to win desperately so I wasn’t trying to hold them back.”
Emotions continued to fly throughout the end of regulation and into overtime as a yellow card was handed out and many others were warned and while the Knights did not need a win, they sure played like they did.
“There was a lot of emotion. From our point of view, getting the No. 1 seed was the most important thing,” Madlin said. “We’re disappointed coming off 0-0, but it secured us the No. 1 seed. At the end of the day it gives us a satisfying result.”
The result ultimately landed Loudoun Valley the Conference 28 No. 2 seed and a game against Central in the first round of the conference tournament on Monday, May 25 in Purcellville with the hope of meeting the Knights in the Conference 28 championship two Fridays from now.
“We got to get healthy. We need to take advantage of some of the rest we get next week,” Davidson said. “We have to come back and focus on keeping the defense stable and generating an attack for when we see them again.”
As for John Champe, Madlin hopes to fine tune their game on the offensive end before their Conference 28 semifinal on Wednesday, May 27.
“We’re going to be working on some set play stuff,” Madlin said. “We’ll be working on tweaking our attacking a little bit because we dominated possession, but just couldn’t get that goal.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Syracuse University where he earned a degree in broadcast and digital journalism. Before attending SU, Owen graduated from Heritage High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.