By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Millbrook girls soccer coach Carter Smith wanted his team to be focused from the start, after what he thought was a sub-par performance in the Pioneers' last game.
Smith got his wish as the Pioneers came out strong in Tuesday's Northwestern District girls soccer tournament final and knocked off Sherando, 4-0.
"We specifically came out early got a good warmup in, focused and got ready to go," Smith said. "We wanted to play our style from the get-go and we did that."
Millbrook's Devan Davis scored from around 20 yards out less than 12 minutes into the game to get the Pioneers started.
"Devan's goal was sweet," Millbrook senior Brooke Borlie said. "I think any time like that when the ball's kind of bouncing around a little bit, and it gets out and you just get a nice driven shot, it's hard to stop. Devan coming from the center-midfield is so dangerous, and she just had an awesome shot."
It appeared as though the game might stay 1-0 for the rest of the half, but the Pioneers scored twice in the last four minutes of the first half to take control of the game.
Millbrook's Casey Ackerman scored with around four minutes left in the half, and a little more than two minutes later Borlie scored to put Millbrook up 3-0 at the half.
"They just did a better job of finishing their chances," Sherando coach Rob Kilmer said. "We had some chances, but we didn't finish them. Millbrook played well. They're a good team."
The Warriors did a better job of possessing the ball in the second half, but still couldn't get over the hump.
Ackerman scored her second goal of the game for the only goal of the second half off of an assist from Borlie.
"Casey had an amazing game," Borlie said of Ackerman. "She's just been on fire. She's making great runs. All of her shots are going to be hard saves or they're not going to be saved."
Millbrook outshot Sherando, 12-11. Borlie said a lot of credit goes to the Pioneers' defense.
"I cannot say enough about our defense, just so solid," Borlie said. "Caitlin [Schrader] had another shutout. Then Kortney [Teike], Alysse [Hamm], Taylor [Hicks] and then Devan [Davis] in the back -- they're the backbone of this team. They're the ones that make us win games. Without them we wouldn't be winning -- bottom line. We wouldn't have won the regular season championship. We wouldn't have won the final."
Millbrook will play in the Region II tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday. They have a bye in the first round.
The Pioneers (14-3-1) lost last year in the first round of regionals, and the team wants a different outcome this season.
"We don't want to be that team that gets a bid to regionals every year and loses in the first round," Borlie said. "We know that we need to play well, and we're prepared to go out and put out our best effort. We won the game today and we'll celebrate tonight, but when it comes time tomorrow we're getting back to work for Tuesday."
The Warriors (8-7-1) will host a Region II first round game on Monday at 3 p.m. They will play the No. 3 team from the Dulles District, and Kilmer knows his team needs to play much better than they did in the district final.
"We can't come out flat like we did today," Kilmer said. "We have to learn from this."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org