By Jim Laise -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Before the match, Warren County girls soccer coach Mike Carpenter said the key was for the Wildcats to get the ball to senior forward Kelsea Potts early and often.
Potts, Warren County's all-time single-season scorer (39 goals), was shut out and with her the Wildcats' chances of advancing to the Conference 28 tournament championship. Loudoun Valley took the 6-2 semifinal win and with it, the chance to meet either John Champe or William Monroe in Friday's conference final.
"Pretty much the story with us is Kelsea Potts, Kelsea Potts. We pretty much need to get her the ball as much as we can," said Carpenter.
Warren County (10-6-1) did that. Potts was open on the wing some of the night, but the best she could do was feed Nina Pettit and Courtney L'Amoreaux for goals. It was not enough. Warren County was seeded second in the tournament. Loudoun Valley (8-9-2) was the third seed, having knocked off sixth-seeded Central, 5-1, on Monday.
"I was double teamed, even triple teamed when I got the ball. They did a good job on me defensively," said Potts, who bowed out on this season with Anne Skube and Brooke Doggett on Senior Night at the Warren County stadium.
Potts broke loose on a run up the left side of the field to feed Pettit for the first goal of the match in the 15th minute of the first half. But the Vikings fired back with three straight goals by Victoria Vernail, Ashley Moore and Lauren Perry. For Perry and Moore, these were the first of two goals apiece which gave the Vikings the 3-1 lead in the 17th minute of the second half.
Potts gave the Wildcats new life when she found L'Amoreaux on a penalty kick. L'Amoreaux's goal in the seventh minute of the second half pulled the home team close at 3-2.
But Moore and Perry chipped in with their second goals each for a commanding 5-2 lead in the 11th minute. Brendy Garcia found Makayla Lewis for the match's final goal.
Even though Warren dropped the match, for these seniors, the winning record marked their first since arriving at Warren County as freshman.
"We haven't had a winning record since the seniors have been here, so that's pretty nice," said Potts.
"It's so exciting it feels great," said fellow senior Skube. "We played down for a while, but you can't take the season away from us."