Sterling, VA (June 16, 2021) - Having not really been challenged at all during their undefeated season, the Dominion Titans were expecting more of a fight from the visiting James Wood Colonels. After all, the Colonels had just beaten arch-rival Loudoun County with an opportunistic attack and an a well-coached strategy at both ends of the field. 

At stake was a trip to the state championship round, and both teams coveted that opportunity.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The opening minutes of this regional final were back and forth. The Titans had a couple of close opportunities, but could not finish. At the same time, the Colonels defense and midfield were solid, but their attack could not muster much at the other end of the field.

Overall, the play was tight and physical with both teams aggressively going for every ball. Unfortunately, that led to a key defensive injury for Wood, who lost their center back for the remainder of the game.

In the 20th minute, a hard and low shot from the left wing was initially stopped by Colonel keeper Lauren Crawford. However, she could not control the rebound which bounced out toward the penalty spot. With the Wood defenders initially slow to react, Dominion senior forward Ashley Cerino broke through and netted the loose ball for a 1-0 lead.

That lead would hold up as the final score, but there was still a lot of soccer left to play. Wood did not have many chances to speak of until late in the second half. They manufactured a golden opportunity when they were finally able to cross the ball over the Titan defense. A close-in chance was available, but the finish wasn't quite there and the shot passed harmlessly by the left post.

Yes, the Titans had some good opportunities to score again, but perhaps the real story of this match was not measured in goals, shots or saves. It is Dominion's composed and balanced defensive approach. With any threat of loss of control, the midfield calmly passed the ball to the back four where it was redirected to safety and sent seeking opportunities to move forward. Not for lack of trying, the Wood offense was almost never able to break that shield, and a one-goal margin became a steep hill to climb.

Wood finishes their excellent season with just this one loss. Dominion advances to the state tournament still undefeated, having passed a huge test against a worthy opponent.

Final Score: Dominion 1 - James Wood 0

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