By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (May 28, 2015) – If you ever want to draw a big crowd to a sporting event in Loudoun County in the spring, host a boys lacrosse game between Loudoun Valley and Woodgrove High Schools.
During the stadium-packed Dulles Group championship, the No. 1 Vikings and No. 2 Wolverines gave the fans a less-than-exciting first half followed by a crazy fourth quarter from which Loudoun Valley came out on top, 6-4, to claim the group title and a No. 1 seed and home field advantage in the VHSL 4A North zone playoffs.
“We’re a second half team,” Loudoun Valley senior captain Pat Hopkins said. “We don’t necessarily start slow, but I think we have more depth in the midfield, so they kind of got tired, and we stayed fresh. We had people to come in to get us rest. We just turned it up in the end, and it worked out our way.”
Hopkins who scored two goals – one in the third and a second in the fourth – helped to rally his team late as emotions flew and the Wolverines started their comeback after trailing by no more than two goals throughout the entire game.
“Woodgrove’s a good team. They’re never going to stop,” Loudoun Valley head coach Logan Cutshall said. “They’ve been down before, they’ve come back to win. We knew [a comeback]was coming, so we just kept playing Valley defense, and we were alright.”
With just under eight minutes remaining in the contest, Loudoun Valley sophomore Marcos Pierce increased the Vikings’ lead to 4-2 before the back and forth battle ensued.
Trailing by that score with just over three minutes left, Woodgrove senior Collin Burns scored his second goal of the game bringing the Wolverines within a goal of the Vikings, but Loudoun Valley senior John Skinner had an answer 17 seconds later.
Woodgrove junior Trey Rustand scored with a minute-and-a-half left to once again pull the Wolverines within one.
But the Vikings were able to seal the deal when senior Andrew Cordani bounced off two Wolverine defenders behind the Woodgrove net, curled around to the front of the goal and shot a ball past the goalkeeper.
“He’s our horse, and we’re going to ride him,” Cutshall said. “He plays really hard and plays well and can take contact. He’s not scared of taking the hit.”
With only one combined goal scored in the first half and only two more added in the third quarter, the fourth quarter was action packed.
“We’ve been working on our conditioning all season, and I think in the fourth quarter it finally kicked in,” Cutshall said. “We were able to keep our breath, and it seemed like they were getting a little bit out of breath, and we took advantage.”
The Vikings were able to do all of this without senior captain Sully Warner who is currently recovering from a torn MCL and bruised foot.
Boys Lacrosse: @LVHS_Jungle Vikings are your Dulles Group champs!! @LVHSLacrosse 6, @WoodgroveLax 4 FINAL
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) May 28, 2015
“Fortunately, we have a fairly deep bench this year, and we’ve had a couple players step up beautifully to fill his spot,” Cutshall said. “What we’re losing from Sully, we’re gaining from others.”
Loudoun Valley leads the season series 2-0, but the rivalry might not be finished this spring.
On Tuesday, June 2, the Vikings will host Kettle Run in a VHSL 4A North zone semifinal in Purcellville, while the Wolverines will travel to Fauquier High School for the other zone semifinal.
“We have tons of supporters here,” Hopkins said. “You can’t ask for anything else.”
2Q 4:05 LV Evan Klipple
3Q 11:02 LV Pat Hopkins
3Q 5:01 WG Collin Burns
4Q 11:21 WG Kyle Reilly
4Q 10:51 LV Pat Hopkins
4Q 7:55 LV Marcos Pierce
4Q 3:12 WG Collin Burns
4Q 2:55 LV John Skinner
4Q 1:34 WG Trey Rustand
4Q 0:30 LV Andrew Cordani
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.
Not to take anything away from Valley’s offense, but their defense is pretty terrific, too. They shut out Woodgrove in the first half, allowing the Valley attack time to find their groove, and gave up only four goals the entire game.