2022.06.03 Girls Lacrosse: VHSL Class 4 Quarterfinal, Loudoun Valley @ Meridian

Falls Church, VA (June 3, 2022) - When teams meet in the state tournament, there is often very little direct comparison to assess the competition. But if overall standings are any indication, the Meridian Mustangs' 16-1 regular season record simply dwarfs the Loudoun Valley Vikings 7-8 mark. But both teams made it to regional championship games--with the Mustangs winning and the Vikings losing--to earn their spots in this matchup, and that means everyone has a chance.

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

Well, as it turns out, the disparity between the records of the two teams was a clear indication of the difference between them. From the outset, Meridian had complete and utter control of the game. The game was tied for the first minute, and after that the Mustangs took the lead and never let it go.

Scoring quickly and easily, Meridian was in front, 7-0, by the middle of the first half. Together, Bella Paradiso and Tilly Gale scored five of those goals, and that performance would be a perfect example of things to come.

Ava Wood, the Vikings goalie, was on her game, and the defense did their best to keep up. It certainly could not be said that they played poorly at all. But Meridian's crisp and accurate passing, speed of attack, winning restarts, and ownership of loose balls--the hallmarks of a great lacrosse team--were relentless. By halftime, the Mustangs had an overwhelming 14-4 lead.

To her credit, Viking attacker Alex Phillips was a nearly equal threat to Paradiso and Gale. She had three of her team's first half goals, and five for the night. But Meridian's defense and goalie Carson Funk clamped down on the rest of the Valley attack, virtually shutting out anyone but Phillips.

The second half was more of the same. There was no quit on the Valley side, and their coach could still be heard encouraging his team even in the final minutes. But when Paradiso and Gale account for thirteen of twenty-one goals--with three more coming from Lila Deering--a balanced team like Meridian looks a lot like a state championship contender.    

Final Score: Meridian 21 - Loudoun Valley 7 

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