TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

April 21, 2021 — Virginia Madness

Yesterday, the Virginia High School League held field hockey state semifinal matches in four enrollment classes leading to Saturday’s state finals.

Even without the “tipping point” games in the regional semifinal round (except for Class 3A), there were plenty of close matches and great storylines throughout.

I think one big storyline has been the maturity and excellence of the field hockey programs from Loudoun County, Va. Since the first schools started playing in 2016, teams from the rapidly growing county have been contending for regional and state titles.

Yesterday, for example, Ashburn Independence (Va.) , Leesburg Riverside (Va.), and Leesburg Heritage (Va.) were all playing for a berth in the state title match, and all three were a goal short.

In Class 3, Independence has been a great story all season. The school is playing in Class 3A because it is a school which only opened in 2019, and does not have a full complement of students enrolled there. Despite this, the team did not allow a goal until the regional final against Fredericksburg James Monroe (Va.). Unfortunately for the Tigers, Independence allowed the only goal of the state semifinals against Yorktown Tabb (Va.).

In Class 4, Heritage ran into a Fredericksburg Chancellor (Va.) side which has won five previous state titles under head coach Jim Larkin. And Chancellor showed its big-game experience by coming out early and taking a 2-0 lead by the 34th minute. But about seven minutes later, Heritage responded with a goal on its first shot on frame the entire contest. But Chancellor was able to hold onto a 2-1 lead at the full-time whistle.

In Class 5, Riverside took a 2-0 lead over a Stafford (Va.) side which also had great championship experience. Indeed, head coach Robin Woodie won a state championship in 2005, beating three opponents in the state tournament which had won 14 of the previous 16 VHSL titles. Stafford responded with two quick goals in the fourth quarter, then won the game in overtime.

It’s going to take something special for the four state championship finals this Saturday to surpass the drama and excellence of yesterday.

But I think it’s going to be a great end to the Fall 2 season in Virginia for the sport.

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