2022.05.20 Girls Soccer: Potomac District Semifinal, Independence @ Briar Woods

Brambleton, VA (May 20, 2022) - The Briar Woods Falcons were clearly the cream of the Potomac District crop this season. Their unbeaten overall record of 12-0-2 was matched by their unblemished 8-0-2 record in regular season games. The visiting Independence Tigers did not have a winning record in the district, and they knew they had their work cut out for them. But they were riding high after a thrilling win over Stone Bridge to make it to the semifinals.

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

It was clear early that this game was about outstanding defense. Throughout the first half, Amara Gleaves and her Falcon backfield kept the ball from getting close to keeper Ana Sadler. In fact, it's difficult to remember a moment when Sadler was tested at all. On the other end, center back Jordan Turner and her mates were limiting the Falcon rush, but Briar Woods had more threatening chances. For the Tigers, though, Reiley Kirkpatrick was there to control any balls that got through. 

At one point, Falcon attacker Taylor Price got behind the Tiger defense and was headed for a one-on-one chance against Kirtpatrick. But Turner tracked down the speedy forward just in time to knock her a bit off balance before she could get her foot on an accurate strike.

The second half started with more of the same, but in the 50th minute Briar Woods earned a series of four straight corner kicks. The first three were superbly defended and cleared by the Tiger defense. But the fourth one rebounded to the Falcons, and Katelyn Smith calmly tucked the ball into the lower right corner for a 1-0 Briar Woods lead.

That goal sparked the Tigers to push forward with a new found aggressiveness, and they got their first two excellent chances of the gme. It would not have been surprising if Sadler was caught off guard--since she hadn't been under as much pressure as Fitzpatrick--but she came through superbly and eliminated any possible chance Independence had to score. In front of their keeper, the Briar Woods defense collectively preserved the shutout.

Briar Woods' victory means they will host the Potomac Falls Panthers for the district championship.  

Final Score: Briar Woods 1 - Independence 0 

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