(May 30, 2013) – Soccer can be a funny game. Sometimes the bounces go your way and other times they simply don’t. On Wednesday it was the Broad Run High School boys with the right bounces and the Stone Bridge High School girls not as fortunate.
Broad Run faced the prospects of overtime when Mountain View was awarded a late penalty kick but Wildcat senior Omar Munoz’s kick clanged off the right post. Moments later, the Wildcats keeper slipped while making a play on a ball and the Spartans (12-3-3) padded their lead and went on to win the Northwest Region semifinal 2-0.
“Sometimes the breaks go your way, but it goes both ways,” said Broad Run coach Jonathan Hicks who will take his team to Forest Park Friday for the regional final and will play in next week’s AAA state tournament.
While the Broad Run boys were celebrating Wednesday, the Stone Bridge High School girls top-ranked team were scratching their heads, tied with Yorktown, 1-1, in the Northern Region semifinals after a first half the Bulldogs dominated before a nice home crowd in Ashburn.
With a team that hadn’t lost on the season and had been averaging four games a playoff game, there was no reason to panic but just three minutes into the second half things changed dramatically as the Bulldogs keeper, junior Natalie Grundler, who had allowed only one goal since April, went down in a nasty collision inside the 18.
Grundler was not able to get up, and after an air cast was put on her for a lower leg injury, she was carted off the field and taken to the hospital by her family. Back-up keeper Kelly Stancik, with just four saves on the year coming in, and the SB defense kept Yorktown off the scoreboard the rest of the half but the Bulldog offense, led by twin senior dynamos Murielle Tiernan (25 goals, 13 assists) and Ashley Herndon (24 goals, 13 assists) could not crack the Yorktown net.
It appeared that Stone Bridge’s hard work on the offensive end would finally pay off when Herndon shook loose with less than 90 seconds left and she chipped the charging Yorktown keeper. The ball seemed to hang in the air, destined for the middle of the net and a sure trip to the state tournament for Stone Bridge … but the ball tailed off to the left and skittering just out of reach of the post.
In overtime, the underdog Yorktown team seemed to have more energy and fresher legs than Stone Bridge and a cross with less than five minutes to go was cleaned up at the far post. Yorktown spent the finally minutes defending frantically before a big celebration.
For Stone Bridge, a magical season (17-1-2) ended with its first loss and a senior class that had burst onto the soccer scene with a state title their freshman year in 2010 would exit without a return trip to States.
Whispers could be heard on the Stone Bridge bench as girls shed tears and hugged each other, most in disbelief that their season, and for some, their prep careers, had come to a sudden end.
For the Broad Run boys, the trip to States, can be pegged to a tactical switch back in the district tournament semifinals when senior midfielder Mike Margulis (Longwood signee) was switched to central defense.
Since then, the Spartans have yielded just a lone own goal in 280 minutes of play. In comparison, the Spartans had given up nine goals in the 280 minute stretch before the switch.
Margulis, senior defender Cullen Hunter (George Mason signee), junior keeper Andrew Davies and the rest of the Spartan defense was on top of their game Wednesday, shutting down Mountain View’s sudden strike capability.
Things were working so well that when Margulis asked for a 15 minute stretch of play in the midfield during the second half the coaching staff politely refused.
Broad Run took the lead early when senior Sami Salar stuck with 34:20 left in the first half off a give-and-go from juniro Evan Kalaris. The Wildcat keeper was caught trying to gather the ball at the edge of the box and Salar, utilizing his quickness got to the ball first and flicked it to the far post for a 1-0 BR edge.
Both sides were limited offensively with most of the play in the midfield, each side taking four shots on goal.
When Mountain View senior Christian Trout was taken down just inside the penalty area with 8:50 left, it looked like the Wildcats would tie but the PK missed by inches.
“We had to weather the storm,” said Margulis about the second half where the Wildcats out-shot the Spartans, 7-2, and had more possession, thanks in part to the strong breeze heading towards their offensive end.
Then with 4:20 left, Broad Run junior Ryan Mayolo took advantage of the Wildcat keeper losing traction and headed the ball to the far post where senior Alexio Chavez buried a header for the insurance.
While a lot is made of high-level and college-bound players not suiting up for their local high school teams, Margulis was happy to help guide his team to States
“This is the only opportunity where you get to play in front of close friends and everybody you go to school with,” said Margulis. “It gives you a sense of pride to play for your school.”