Leesburg, Va. — Losing to a rival is tough. Losing to a rival twice just a week apart can be debilitating. But after falling to Heritage on October 12 then October 19, the Loudoun County High School field hockey was more determined than ever to upend their Leesburg rival and, at the same time, claim the Dulles District championship.
Just as they had done all season, the Captains put together a complete team effort in all facets of the game to avenge their regular season losses and outwork the Pride to hoist the Dulles District championship trophy, 4-1, on October 28 in Leesburg.
“I knew we could do it; it was just a matter of time,” Loudoun County head coach Maggie Darby said. “The girls came through tonight. Everybody played to their absolute best.”
Midway through the first quarter of the district championship game, the Captains showed their true grit when freshman forward CeCe Tomaszewski put Loudoun County on the board with a shot from the top of the shooting circle. Less than three minutes later, senior midfielder Charlotte Penberthy extended the Captains lead to 2-0, as Loudoun County had stolen the momentum.
“Our self-esteem just goes through the roof when you can score a few goals early,” Darby said. “Our team thrives on the momentum of the game where they can just ride that high.”
Those early, momentum-grabbing goals were crucial as Heritage continued to fight and cut the Loudoun County lead in half late in the first quarter when sophomore midfielder Emma Beal hit the back of the cage.
Fortunately for the Captains, that would be the last goal their defense allowed, shutting out the Pride in the second, third, and fourth quarters.
“Heritage is very quick to the ball, and they always get there first,” Darby said. “We told our girls that tonight we had to be there first.”
With a 2-1 lead heading into the second quarter, Tomaszewski wasn’t content, wound up, and buried her second goal of the night into the net.
Knowing Heritage would put up a lasting fight, the Captains continued to attack the Pride defense when they earned a penalty stroke late in the first half. Loudoun County senior captain Olivia DeWan stepped up to the line and blasted a shot at the lower 90 and past the Heritage keeper to put the Captains up 4-1, the score by which they would win.
The win earned Loudoun County the top-seed out of the Dulles District so the Captains will host Kettle Run in a VHSL Region 4D semifinal on November 2. The Pride will travel to Northwestern District No. 1 Fauquier for the other region semifinal.
“We played as a team and whole unit tonight. That’s been the key to our success all season,” Darby said. “We just have to stay focused, practice hard, and continue to play as a team.”
|1Q||7:30||Loudoun County||CeCe Tomaszewski||1-0|
|1Q||5:05||Loudoun County||Charlotte Penberthy||2-0|
|2Q||10:01||Loudoun County||CeCe Tomaszewski||3-1|
|2Q||2:02||Loudoun County||Olivia DeWan||4-1|