Purcellville, Va. (May 14, 2015) — You’ve heard of Rivalry Week. Well, at Loudoun Valley High School on Thursday night, the Vikings fit an entire week’s worth of rivalries into a single evening.
Under immaculate t-shirt weather, the fans came in droves to see Valley take on its oldest rival (Loudoun County) and its newest (Woodgrove) – so many fans, the concession stand ran out of food before the games were even over.
With 53-year-old Valley’s two-year-old artificial turf on its football/soccer/lacrosse field, and with brand-new baseball and softball facilities put into service this spring, one of Loudoun’s oldest high schools now sports a thoroughly modern look.
(Helpful hint: If you want to watch everything (and you happen to have a press pass), the roof of the football press box provides a fantastic view of everything – including the beautiful wooded hillsides of western Loudoun.)
The Vikings split four contests against their two rivals. Crosstown Woodgrove won both girls lacrosse games handily, while Valley got past fellow old-school County on both of the campus’s shiny new diamonds.
Softball: Loudoun Valley 2, Loudoun County 0
Vikings head coach Kristin Thurston told her team that she wanted to see more shutouts. Actually, any shutout would do, since the Vikings (14-3) hadn’t blanked an opponent yet this season.
They picked a good time for their first, on a night when they didn’t score much themselves.
“We talked about how we need to buckle down and start getting some shutouts,” said Valley’s fourth-year head coach. “County hit the ball well and [pitcher] Delany [Turner] looked great. We needed our defense tonight.”
Valley remained unbeaten in their new digs with a strong pitching performance by freshman right-hander Tressa Kagarise and some timely offensive execution.
Kagarise went the distance, bending but never breaking against the pesky lineup of the Raiders (10-8). Her help came from some tremendous outfield defense by sophomore Grace Kopf, sophomore Sydney Hays and freshman Reagan Brill, from left to right.
“Our outfield has won us some games. Our outfield is extremely strong, probably one of the strongest outfields around,” said Thurston, whose roster contains just three juniors and but one senior in first baseman Kailey Liverman.
In the second inning, Brill dropped down a perfect bunt to the third-base side, giving herself a single and an RBI to break the scoreless tie.
The score stayed the same until the sixth, when McKenna Holtz smashed an offering from Turner sharply down the left-field line to bring a runner around all the way from first.
The Raiders went down fighting, loading the bases in the final frame with one out. With the potential tying run 120 feet away, County senior Saige McGovern lofted a fly ball about 150 feet to left. Kopf caught it, then unleashed a bullet of a throw home that went unchallenged.
A groundout to short later, and the Vikings had their shutout.
Valley has two more contests on the slate before opening the Conference 28 tournament.
Baseball: Loudoun Valley 14, Loudoun County 4 (5 inn.)
The Raiders opened with a run in the first off Valley righty Justin Ager, but the Vikings (17-2) answered loudly, piling up eight runs in their half of the opening inning – aided by a pair of County errors – to knock out starter Cameron Eck.
The visitors came right back with two in the second. In the fourth inning, the bases became jammed with Raiders, forcing Ager from the mound in favor of T.J. Holdredge.
The junior righty induced a strikeout and a groundout to keep the Raiders (9-9) from getting any closer. A five-run outburst in the Vikings’ fifth brought the game to an automatic end via run-rule.
Valley head coach Wayne Todd was at once pleased with his offense’s showing, but disappointed in a lackluster defensive effort.
“Sloppy game. Very sloppy,” said Todd, who saw the Vikings commit three errors of their own – on the heels of the previous night’s subpar glovework in a 2-0 loss to Potomac Falls.
But Todd was “really pleased with our offense. I’ve always said hitting is contagious, and tonight Hunter [Gore] got the first big hit and got us going.”
Junior catcher Gore knocked a pair of RBI singles, and junior Adam Lockhart delivered an RBI double. Senior leadoff man Kyle Bowles had two singles and two stolen bases. Junior shortstop Trey McDyre singled and doubled.
The Vikings stole seven bags against their rivals.
The boys from Leesburg were led by sophomore Hunter Keim, who reached base three times including a first-inning triple, scoring a run. Junior Chris Cicalese singled and walked, coming around to score each time.
The defending state champions from Purcellville had already wrapped up the Conference 28 regular season title. But Valley has scant time to polish their game to Todd’s liking, with only Friday’s home tilt against John Champe remaining before the postseason sets in.
Like their softball sisters, the Vikings’ baseball team is undefeated in their new home park.
Girls lacrosse: Woodgrove 18, Loudoun Valley 7
Things sounded very good inside Leonard Stadium when Valley student Oriella Mejia delivered a superb rendition of the national anthem, and things looked pretty good when the Vikings and Wolverines put up a point before the game was a minute old. The rivals then seesawed to halftime with a 6-5 score that barely favored Woodgrove.
But Wolverines head coach Bob Fuller put in some apparently magical halftime adjustments, and Woodgrove (13-3) suddenly became unstoppable. Ten consecutive goals were scored by Wolverine sticks before the second half was half-over, including a three-goal outburst in one 90-second span.
“The Valley/Woodgrove game is always a highly contested game. They’re a good team, we’re a good team. Lots of emotion,” said Fuller, previously on Valley’s staff before moving a couple miles to head up Woodgrove.
During halftime, Fuller implored his charges to calm their nerves and focus on snappy ball movement. The Wolverines responded, dominating faceoffs and controlling the pace.
Junior midfielder Nora Bowen scored a touchdown’s worth of goals for the visitors, with four in the first half and three in the second. Senior attacker Emma Leszczak chipped in four scores, while junior Sarah Pantaleo notched three tallies, all in the second half.
Caitleen Copeland helped out with a pair of goals. Fellow attacker Grace McNulty scored two and assisted on two more. The Wolverines have piled up no fewer than 16 goals in each of their last eight outings.
In front of the Wolverines’ net, senior Ashley Morris stopped nine Viking shots.
For the Vikings (8-5), junior Marguerite Keane registered three goals and two assists, while Parrish Alto contributed a couple scores.
Fuller, the only head coach for girls lacrosse in Woodgrove’s five-year history, pointed out with pride that his squads had yet to lose a regular season contest to a Dulles District foe.
In a rivalry meeting to conclude the regular season for both squads, Fuller noted that “this was not the time to lose one.”
JV girls lacrosse: Woodgrove 11, Loudoun Valley 2
Charlie McGallicher put in four goals and fellow freshman Ellie Earnshaw put in three as the Wolverines (12-3-1) cruised to victory. The goaltending duo of Cristina Guerra and Sanaea Gowdia helped earn the win in net.
Kaycee Smith flung home both of Valley’s tallies.
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
Special to VivaLoudoun