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Girls Nov 04, 2014

Virginia State Cup: Loudoun profit in lottery of PKs over BRYC in Under-16 girls’ final

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — The tension was palpable at the VYSA Virginia Soccer Training Center as the first game of finals day, between Loudoun Soccer and BRYC in the girls’ Under-16s final, of the Virginia State Cup ended 0-0 after normal time, and stayed that way after extratime.

The deadlock meant only one thing for the players, referees and spectators — the dreaded penalty shootout. Five kicks apiece from the spot, with the chance for individuals to be heroes and help their side take home a state championship. That tantalizing prospect of success heightened the nerves even more, especially for those not on the field, who could only stand and watch as these brave U-16s stepped up.

+ READ: All of our VYSA State Cup coverage

Unfortunately for BRYC, they would come up short in the contest, with one of their spot kicks saved by the Loudoun goalkeeper and another going over the bar to give their opponents a 4-3 victory and the State Cup tournament victory. The No. 1 seed had rolled through the competition up to this point, but were given a real test by the BRYC team, and it could have been so different on another day.

Jim [Abt, coach of BRYC] and I have done this for a long time, we coached together at West Springfield,” Loudoun head coach Randy May said during the awards presentation after the game. “I couldn’t be more proud of the energy our players brought, and their camaraderie and support for each other. They held strong and stayed together and in the end, came out on top.”

The game itself was played out in high winds, which blew lengthways in one direction and so gave one side a clear advantage of playing with the wind for one half apiece. Loudoun looked especially keen to take advantage when they were playing with the wind, and saw a number of shots from distance trouble the BRYC goalkeeper but fail to find the net.

+ READ: Loudoun Red, Arlington Attack Red produce epic U-16 boys semifinal

However, both did manage to adapt their game to the conditions, with a number of through passes along the ground finding their intended recipients only to be thwarted by a stellar defensive effort from both goalkeepers and their backlines. Despite possessing such potent offenses, which had combined for 21 goals up to this point in the competition, a goal was not forthcoming.

BRYC in particular had looked very strong offensively throughout, having only conceded once throughout and finding the net on five occasions in the semifinal the previous day against FASA Elite Impact. Loudoun had looked similarly strong too, having progressed through the competition without conceding a single goal and scoring on multiple occasions in each round, including a 2-0 semifinal win over Annandale United.

The best chances came in the overtime period, as both sides seemed to flag a little after their exertions and space started to open up all over the field. Both sides had great opportunities to take the lead, especially as long balls over the top started to be more successful and find their targets with the wind ebbing.

+READ: Virginia State Cup: FC Virginia take Under-15 girls’ crown after tough Herndon test

Even as the breeze reduced and the sun made brief, fleeting appearances, neither side could find the target, meaning the lottery of penalties beckoned to determine their fate, with Loudoun finally prevailing from the spot.

“It was a great team battle today, and a penalty shootout is a roll of the dice,” Abt said at the awards presentation after the game. “Congratulations to Loudoun. The ’98 [age group] is a very strong age group in Virginia, they have some great coaches and players.”

Penalties truly are a roll of the dice, and on a different day it could so easily have been BRYC’s victory. However, it did not fall their way, with Loudoun getting the best of the shootout and taking home the championship.

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