Leesburg, Va. — When the top two teams in the Dulles District met on October 9, it was a highly-anticipated clash of the titans. The Riverside High School field hockey team dominated most aspects of that game, defeating Heritage High School, 4-1. The Pride, however, had recently come off a tough loss to Eastern View and were not as crisp as they usually are.
But when the teams met on November 1 to crown the VHSL Region 4C champion, Heritage was rested and ready for the Rams, after cruising past Woodgrove on October 30.
Riverside was prepared as well though, as they took down the Pride, 2-1, to defend their home turf and earn the VHSL Region 4C crown, 2-1.
“It feels amazing,” Riverside junior midfielder Amelie Fieser said. “We scored in the last minute and came back from an early goal against and that just shows who we are as a team.”
After the Rams field hockey team sung the national anthem, the game was afoot. Riverside and Heritage are two of the fastest teams in Loudoun County, and it showed in the region final.
The Pride took the momentum early when freshman forward Renee Schmidt scored the first goal of the game only two-and-a-half minutes into the first half.
Then, for most of the first half, the game was played in the middle of the field, with Heritage working passes slightly better than Riverside.
The Rams, though, showed their persistence and never took the pressure off of the Pride. As the first half wound down, Riverside was pressuring Heritage and crammed them down in their own end, where Riverside sophomore forward Gurnoor Dhaliwal tied the game with less than thirty seconds left in the first half.
Even with Riverside’s game-tying goal, Heritage refused to lose focus. The Pride dominated the second half of the game, keeping the ball mostly on the Rams’ end.
Heritage pounded Riverside with nine corners in the second half, but Riverside senior goalie Charlotte Yacura made some key saves to keep the game tied up.
“I really could not have done it without my defense,” Yacura said. “They were able to take my clears out of the circle, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
With the score still tied at 1-1 with less than a minute left, it looked like the game was bound for overtime.
However, the Rams were awarded a corner at about the one-minute mark, and it Riverside’s game to lose.
The corner was gritty, and Heritage almost cleared it multiple times, but the Rams were determined. With just 48.9 seconds left in regulation, Riverside sophomore midfielder Eva Yacura scored the game winner, lifting the Rams to the VHSL Region 4C title.
“Everything just happened so fast,” Eva Yacura said. “It was everyone working together to get that goal. It wasn’t my goal; it was my team’s goal.”
In advancing to the region championship, both Riverside and Heritage earned berths to the VHSL 4A State tournament. The Rams will host Eastern View on November 6 in Leesburg, while the Pride travel to Chancellor in Fredericksburg.
1H 27:25 H Renee Schmidt
1H 0:22 RS Gurnoor Dhaliwal
2H 0:48 RS Eva Yacura
Correction: An earlier version of this story credited Josie Rossbach with Heritage’s goal. The goal was scored by Renee Schmidt.