By Curtis Atkinson
Lynchburg (June 13, 2015) – If you lean on any wall long enough, eventually you’re going to break through. So was the story of the VHSL 4A girls soccer state championship game as the Loudoun County High School Lady Raiders kept up the pressure on a staunch Heritage High School Pride defense.
The Raiders fell behind 1-0 early, but dominated possession and peppered Pride stand out keeper Zoe Foxhall with shots on goal before catching a break scoring three goals and winning the state championship, 3-1, in Lynchburg on June 13.
In the 42nd minute, Loudoun County sophomore Allyson Brown finally broke through on a curling 20-yard strike to beat Foxhall to the upper right corner. Less than a minute later, Brown found herself free again and Foxhall got a piece, but not enough to stop Brown from making it 2-1 for the Raiders.
In the 76th minute, Brown broke free again and finished off the hat trick to put away the game and lock up the state championship. Of course, this isn’t new for Brown – who was a member of the VHSL 5A state championship team from Briar Woods High School last season.
“We were undefeated this year and our team had a lot of chemistry on and off the field, and they feel like my family,” Brown said of the difference in the Raiders 23-0-1 campaign.
Loudoun County head coach Kirk Smith noted additional attention paid to star Emily Littell opened up the field for Brown, and she certainly took advantage.
“We do certain things to move [Littell] around the field which throws people off,” Smith said. “Other players have to step up, and Allyson found that, that’s for sure. She took the opportunities of having the one on ones, and I don’t know how you have a better game.”
Heritage certainly didn’t go down without a fight in the fifth match up of the season between these Leesburg rivals.
Pride junior Kathryn Counts found herself all alone with the Loudoun County keeper in the sixth minute and made it count as she put the Pride up 1-0 as the stunned Raiders’ fans looked on.
After that Heritage settled into a defensive strategy to limit the explosive Loudoun County offense. Heritage head coach Holly King noted that wasn’t the strategy coming in, but happened organically for the Pride.
“Because we scored early, that’s when we sat back,” King said. “Once we got the goal, our girls automatically went back into the shell to be more defensive minded.”
Of course, you can be defensive minded when you have a keeper like Virginia Tech bound Zoe Foxhall in the goal.
“She’s a stud,” King said. “She’s the top goalie in the state, and she’s proved that. She’s our workhorse, and she’s the energy that our team needs. She’s all heart.”
That proved to be true as the Pride fell behind 2-1, but Foxhall refused to let her team get down.
“We dropped our heads a little bit, but I told them we’re still in this, it’s only a one goal difference, if we can get one, we can be back in it,” Foxhall said.
Heritage’s best chance to pull even came on an Amanda Philip free kick in the 70th minute. From about 40 yards out, Philip struck one clean that just caught the crossbar and caromed back into play.
After a few chaotic seconds, the Raiders were able to clear the ball from the mouth of the goal and stay on top.
Six minutes later Brown scored her third, and the Raiders’ state championship was imminent.
6′ H Kathryn Counts
42′ LC Allyson Brown
43′ LC Allyson Brown
76′ LC Allyson Brown
Curtis Atkinson is the Area Director for Western Loudoun Young Life and an avid Western Loudoun sports fan. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.