2023.05.08 Girls Soccer: Stone Bridge @ Briar Woods

Brambleton, VA (May 8, 2023) - Just a week ago, the Washington Post published its current Top Ten ranking of girls soccer teams in the metro area. At #5, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs. At #6, the Independence Tigers. And, on the bubble, the Briar Woods Falcons. Pretty impressive for the Potomac District, but also an indication of the gauntlet to come in the playoffs.

In the time since that ranking was made, Independence beat the Bulldogs and the Falcons by identical 6-1 scores. So tonight some additional sorting would occur as Briar Woods was set to host Stone Bridge.

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

For the first ten minutes of the game, it seemed that Stone Bridge had the edge. Their interior passing was crisp, and they were more organized at midfield. But that all changed, when the Falcons' Amara Gleaves lined up a free kick from about forty yards out in the 11th minute. Her ball landed inside the Bulldogs' penalty area and wasn't cleared before Hannah Batt calmly tucked it into the lower left corner for a sudden, 1-0, Briar Woods lead.

From that point, the Falcons owned the first half. Except for one quick Stone Bridge counterattack--thwarted by solid Briar Woods defense--the majority of play was on the Bulldog side of the field. Still, as time began to wind down to halftime, it looked like the one-goal margin would hold.

But in the 35th minute, Falcon forward Aleksia Christensen got free at midfield, behind the Stone Bridge defense, and was one-on-one with Bulldog keeper Tatum Gorman, who did her best, but could not stop Christensen's potent strike.

Now leading by two, Briar Woods did not let up. With three minutes to go in the half, Falcon Ally Quigley cut in front of Bulldog defender Addie Hafer and beat Gorman again to the lower left corner earning, a stunning 3-0 halftime lead for Briar Woods.

After the break, Stone Bridge aggressively and consistently attacked, but Briar Woods tightened their defense in response. Bulldog captain Haley Blake was particularly effective gaining possession at midfield and pushing forward, but even her best efforts could not help reduce the margin, and the halftime score became final.

Final Score: Briar Woods 3 - Stone Bridge 0

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