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They got it back. The Region III championship, that is.
Jefferson Forest’s Lady Cavs reclaimed the title with a convincing 3-1 win over Northside.
That makes it two Region III titles in the past three years. Last year, the Lady Cavs fell to Waynesboro in overtime. The year before, they topped Lord Botetourt in the final.
This year, the Cavs had to go through Lord Bot just to get a shot at the final. They nearly didn’t make it, topping the Bots in OT, 2-1.
They also took on a crew from Broadway, beating the Gobblers in convincing fashion, 5-0.
From the top
JF began its run against that Broadway crew.
This was a game where home field advantage came into play, particularly since the Gobblers had spent a reported four hours on the bus, including detours and misrouting.
Broadway only had four subs to JF’s 11, the temperature on the field was over 90 degrees and the Gobblers had played the night before, and...you get the idea.
Broadway got off a grand total of one shot in the first half. “Kudos to our defense,” said JF Head Coach Stan Golon, of the crew that features Danielle Brittigan, Anna Carter, Emilee McDaniel, Jessica O’Bryant and Emily Vance, as well as keeper Allie Gossen.
JF took advantage of goals by senior Danielle Tiffany and freshman Ashlie Freeman to seize a halftime lead.
Sensing opportunity, JF posted three goals early in the second half to seal the deal. Callie White dished off to Lauren Nicholas to go up 3-0. A couple minutes later, Nicholas returned the favor, setting up White. Nicholas completed the scoring off an assist from Tiffany.
That win earned the Lady Cavs a shot at Lord Botetourt in the semifinals.
In a game that looked like a cross between pinball and kickball, the two teams found themselves knotted at 1-1. Nicholas had scored in the first five minutes of the match, thanks to an assist by Chelsea Hayes. Lord Bot’s Hollie Martin evened the score with under 15 minutes gone.
This seemed as though it might be a high-scoring affair.
That assumption was turned on its ear as the teams went scoreless through regulation, through two overtime periods and another two golden goal sessions.
That set up a penalty-kick shootout.
After a JF miss, White, Blue, Alyssa Mitchell and Carter made theirs, as did four LB shooters.
Now it came down to a one-shot shoot-out, after Gossen made a tremendous save on LB’s fifth.
After a Bot miss, McDaniel stepped up. The senior, who had pulled herself from the original five shooters, nailed the game-winner.
“That’s why you practice PKs this time of year,” noted Golon.
The Northside match was nearly anticlimactic. The Lady Cavs came out gunning. Tiffany and Hayes put up quick goals to put the Lady Vikes back on their heels.
Blue put up an insurance goal locking in the title, the trophy and the State quarterfinal home opener against Hidden Valley. That match took place Tuesday, after press time.