By Jimmy LaRoue
Midlothian, Va. – After a scoreless 90 minutes, VSA Heat Blue netted two overtime goals and held off the Herndon Firecats to take the Virginia Under-17 Girls State Cup title with a 2-0 win at SportsQuest on Sunday.
In a match full of momentum shifts, Heat Blue coach Steve Smith said it was a matter of settling down and keeping the ball.
“I think we were a little tense to start with,” Smith said. “The girls finally settled down in the second half and things started to open up.”
Smith felt early on that VSA was in control, but in the middle third he said there was a bit of a lag, with neither team generating chances, though the Firecats had the better of play.
The first goal came from Alexa Wagoner on a set piece where Smith said the Firecats had dropped off to the goal line to defend it, allowing Heat Blue to push players forward.
On the second goal, Caitlin Hite, normally a defender but pushed up in the midfield due to an injury, played a ball from the wing to Lindsey Egburs, “who just crushed it,” Smith said.
The Heat Blue coaching staff took over the team in March, and has spent time getting them organized. With this win, the squad advances to next June’s U.S. Youth Soccer’s Region I Championships in Hershey, Penn.
“I think it’s a testament to their character and their resilience,” Smith said of winning the State Cup title. “They’ve always had the talent. They’ve just had bad luck.”