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The Bruins miss two close scoring chances, falling to Briar Woods in a defensive battle.
MICHAEL SHROYER | Special to The Roanoke Times
Blacksburg senior Kim Shave (3) dribbles downfield past two Briar Woods defenders. Briar Woods defeated Blacksburg 1-0 Saturday to advance to the state championship game.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
RADFORD — A mistake here, a missed chance there. The Blacksburg girls soccer team played a solid game, but a single defensive lapse and the inability to capitalize on a few quality offensive chances doomed the Bruins to a 1-0 loss to Briar Woods in the Group AA semifinal.
The Falcons (19-4-1) controlled the ball throughout the second half, thwarting Blacksburg’s attempts to sustain offensive pressure.
“We just didn’t finish,” said Blacksburg coach Travis Eschenmann. “We had a couple of really good opportunities near the end, but we just let the ball sit on the ground. When they had the opportunity, they finished.”
The Falcons finished just once — a 20-yard blast from junior forward Emma Quirk, who took a throw-in, settled the ball at her feet with her back to the goal, then spun to her right and fired a left-footed kick into the top left corner.
The goal came in the 28th minute and stood up through the second half, with Blacksburg having two quality chances off corner kicks just three minutes apart with less than 15 minutes to play. The first found its way between players but no Bruins player was able to get a boot on it. The second was shot wide.
Except for the single successful attack by Quirk, the defenses dominated the game for both sides.
“I’m really proud of the defense. We have a sophomore and freshman as center backs, Faith Kurek and Eden-Elizabeth Phillips, who played so well. They all did,” Eschenmann said.
Blacksburg (17-4) could not keep the ball in front of the goal. As soon as a scoring chance was contested, the ball was cleared.
Falcons coach Ann Veikorn said the strategy was to move the ball as fast as possible.
“We knew it was a huge field,” Veikorn said of the game being played on Radford University’s field at Cupp Stadium. “The way to take advantage of that is to move the ball around as fast as we can.
“We talked about the ball being the defense; making the ball do the work.”
Veikorn said the Falcons identified the Bruins’ strategy of passing the ball over the defense on a break, so they adjusted to that tactic.
“Our defense knew we had to win the ball in the air and smother the ball at midfield, to take away the ball o ver the top,” Veikorn said.
Officially, the Bruins had only two shots on goal in the game while the Falcons had seven, including two in the final 10 minutes when the Bruins were desperate to move the ball to their offensive end.
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