Potomac Falls, VA (May 6, 2019) - The Potomac Falls Panthers were reeling a bit. Their season had been one of streaks, and they were on a recent losing skid--and all three games were decided by one goal.
Now the Panthers had a chance to build some momentum against the Potomac District leaders, the Briar Woods Falcons, whose season has been consistently winning. At 9-1-1 in the district and 9-2-2 overall, they had a commanding hold on the top playoff position.
A month ago, the two teams met at Briar Woods where the Falcons put on a scoring clinic and handed the Panthers there worst loss of the season, 4-0. But from the outset it was clear that this game would be different.
Perhaps in a bit of a surprise, possession in the first eight minutes belonged to Potomac Falls. Briar Woods displayed a calm, confident style, but the Panthers countered that with an aggressive defensive approach led by stalwart central back Sydney Watson.
But even with that defensive strength, it was difficult to control the Falcons' Sophie Maltese. In the 9th minute, she made two quick moves to open space for a twenty-five yard shot that found the upper right panel and an early lead, 1-0.
That goal may have demoralized a team on a losing skid, but the Panthers immediately came back. With a very similar move, Natalie Swarm found the left side of the Falcons' net to tie the match, and from that point on Potomac Falls had the better first half chances. However, neither team would score before halftime and it remained tied at 1-1.
Just four minutes into the second half, Briar Woods' Casey O'Connor broke through on an all-out hustle play and finished what would prove to be the game winner. For the remainder of the half, Potomac Falls would have the run of play--including a shot that hit the post and another that hit the underside of the crossbar, but failed to cross the goal line.
Although the Panthers' streak continued, they showed that they can be competitive with the district's best, and that sets them up well for the postseason. On the other side, Briar Woods demonstrated that they have the potential to score at any time even when their chances are limited by a strong defense.
Final Score: Briar Woods 2 - Potomac Falls 1