South Riding, VA (May 10, 2019) - Storms that threatened to affect the start of this season-ending match failed to materialize, and Senior Night for the Freedom Eagles turned out to be gloriously perfect for a rivalry game with the visiting John Champe Knights.
As is always the case when these two schools play, bragging rights are just as important as playoff positioning. But both were at stake tonight and the result could matter in terms of opponents in the upcoming Potomac District tournament. Briar Woods is the only team that had officially locked up their top seed.
The opening quarter was tense and physical. Both teams had good chances, but the defenses--led by outstanding play in goal--held firm. Cole Procaccini was excellent in net for Freedom while Carter Harrigan was equal to the task at the other end of the field.
Three-quarters of the first period had gone by before a sudden flurry of goals. David Burkholder would score first for the Eagles, but Jack Sengler fired back for the Knights to tie it up. With little time remaining, Devon Loayza put Freedom ahead as the period ended, 2-1.
Champe scored quickly in the second period to tie the score again and then pulled ahead for their first lead of the night, with both goals by Dalton Young. But Freedom would get a late tally from Vasubandhu Mainali to even the score at halftime, 3-3.
Both defenses would clamp down again in the third quarter, but Sean Flora sent the home crowd into a frenzy as he took the lead back for Freedom midway through the period, 4-3.
When the Eagles added another halfway through the fourth, on a goal from Tyler Carter, Freedom had the first two-goal lead of the night for either team and it looked like they were on their way to a bit of an upset victory. But Young scored again to cut the lead in half, and then, with just seven seconds remaining, Champe's Malulani Goo somehow got the ball into the net to tie the game once more and send it to overtime.
Note: This reporter had to leave before the end of the lengthy rain delay, but Champe went on to win in what must have been a stirring comeback.
Final Score: John Champe 6 - Freedom 5