Ashburn, VA (May 21, 2019) - The Briar Woods Falcons had hosted the Freedom Eagles about a month ago, and it wasn't pretty for the visitors. A single step in a remarkable undefeated season, Briar Woods had won easily, 11-3. But this regional quarterfinal matchup was on a neutral field so maybe one advantage the Falcons had last time would be missing.
When Eagles' goalie Cole Procaccini picked up the ball near his crease and proceeded to head straight up the middle of the field before taking a surprising shot, well, he set an initial tone that said Freedom meant business. He didn't score, but he did motivate his team and just a minute later, Devon Loayza scored to stake the Eagles to an early lead.
Given Briar Woods' season-long winning streak, that goal and that lead looked like a bit of a fluke. But Vasubandhu Mainali scored again for Freedom to make it, 2-0. Now it was time to question whether the Eagles were soaring or Briar Woods was flat.
And it was the latter.
With two minutes left in the first quarter, Nick Romano cut the lead in half and, from that point Freedom never scored again. Eight straight unanswered goals by the Falcons sealed the deal. Three from Will Pompilio, two from Danny McMinn, one from Aaron Casteel, and another from Romano were all the team needed to put Freedom away.
Freedom's season ends and Briar Woods continues on to the regional semifinals.The Falcons did what they needed to do to win. It wasn't flashy or particularly dominant, but it was nearly flawless, patient and opportunistic after a slow start. As they advance they'll need to come out quicker, but that's a good reminder for the semifinal and beyond.
Final Score: Briar Woods 8 - Freedom 2