Leesburg, VA (May 28, 2021) - A rainy game can sometimes be a splashy mess, but more often than not poor weather brings focus and intensity that might not have been there otherwise. There is something in the rain that isolates attention on the ball for the players and on the field for the spectators. This was one of those games.

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

From the opening whistle, the Loudoun County Captains had control of the match. The Independence Tigers were game, but an early thrust into the Tigers defensive zone felt like a lightning bolt and the resulting shot appeared to beat keeper Reiley Fitzpatrick for a 1-0 Captains' lead. But the play was called offside, and the Tigers could breathe a sigh of relief.

Moments later--at the other end of the field--County keeper Evy Schweiker failed to secure a driven, wet, slippery cross from the left wing, and the ensuing rebound fell right to the feet of the opportunistic Regan Wise who calmly tallied to give the Tigers the lead, and this time there was no offsides.

Now with the momentum, the balance of play belonged to the visiting Tigers as they continued to thwart the Captains at midfield. But with about ten minutes remaining, County evened the score from a corner kick and a brilliant, glancing header put into the lower right corner by Tori Gillis.

That goal would  bring some deja vu later in the match, but the Tigers weren't done with the first half yet. With everyone expecting the game to go into the break at 1-1, Wise finished another chance to give Independence a somewhat surprising 2-1 lead and clear momentum.

As the second period began, the Tigers were again controlling the action, but gradually the Captains were finding their rhythm and space. Both keepers met challenges without surrendering, but Fitzpatrick was facing more than her fair share. With just minutes remaining in regulation there was Gillis flying through the air to head another corner kick home, this time with crushing authority. Loudoun County had tied it again and forced overtime.

Having completed full time under exhausting conditions, both teams began the first overtime tentatively searching for a tie-breaker. It suddenly came from the right flank off the foot of Loudoun County's Taylor Simmons. Lofting over Fitzpatrick's maximum reach, the ball ricocheted off the far post and in for the game winner. Neither team would score again, and the Captains could celebrate a breathtaking victory.

Final Score: Loudoun County 3 - Independence 2

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