The William Byrd girls saw their soccer season come to an end in the Class 3 state quarterfinal round Tuesday. The Terriers lost for just the second time this season when they fell to Charlottesville, 3-0, on Jefferson Highfill Field in Vinton.
“They were a tough opponent and we struggled to gain momentum,” said Byrd coach Molly Cox. “We had several chances but were unable to capitalize.”
The game was scoreless for most of the first half, but the Black Knights were able to score twice late in the half to take a 2-0 lead into intermission. Charlottesville made it 3-0 early in the second half and that was too big a deficit for the Byrd girls to overcome despite a solid performance in goal by Sophia Chrisley, who kept the score relatively close with eight saves.
With the loss Byrd finished the season at 17-2-3 while the Black Knights advanced to Friday’s state semifinal at Riverbend High School in Fredricksburg. The Terriers won the Blue Ridge District season and tournament championships and last week they won the Region 3D championship, defeating two higher seeded teams on the road.
Last week’s region semifinal was particularly satisfying, as Byrd defeated district arch-rival Lord Botetourt for the second time this season. Prior to this year Byrd had not beaten the Cavaliers for years, as LB dominated the district. However, this year Byrd tied the Cavaliers twice during the regular season, beat them 4-3 in Vinton in the district tournament final and last week they ended Botetourt’s season with a 1-0 shutout win in Daleville.
The region semifinal was a hard-fought battle from start to finish. The game was back and forth in the early going but as the Terriers settled in they seemed to gain control. Byrd had the ball in their offensive end for most of the half but couldn’t get one in the net, and it was scoreless at the half. The Terriers couldn’t convert a penalty kick midway through the first half, and that looked to be big at the time.
“In the first half we were awarded an indirect kick in the box when a Lord Botetourt player had a high kick,” said Cox. “We hit the indirect kick on frame but an LB player, not the goalie, stopped it with her hand. This should be a red card, which would make LB play down a player, but the ref did not give a red, only gave us a PK. Unfortunately the PK hit the post so we remained tied at half.”
The second half was much of the same. Addi St. Clair had a good chance midway through the second half that Byrd players claimed crossed the line, but it bounced out and a goal was not awarded.
Finally, with 8:25 on the clock, Logan Andrews found Maddy Simmons and the district Player of the Year put it away for what would be the winning goal. LB had a corner kick late but Chrisley handled it to secure the win, clinching a berth in the state tournament and advancing the girls to the region final on Friday.
The Region 3D championship game was played at the Smith River Sports Complex in Martinsville against the number one seed, Magna Vista. The Warriors had lost just once during the regular season, a 4-0 loss to Byrd in the first week of the season in March. The Terriers were anxious to show that win was no fluke, and they did just that with a 5-0 win to add a region trophy to the high school trophy case.
The Terriers jumped on top early when St. Clair found Simmons for a score just four minutes into the game. The second goal came after Magna Vista committed a foul near mid-field with 22 minutes left in the first half. Maci Glass took the free kick and played it beautifully into the box, where it was headed into the goal by a Magna Vista player.
One minute later St. Clair found Simmons again and Byrd was up 3-0 and had the Warriors on their heels. The Terriers scored one more in the first half, with three minutes to go, when Simmons played a cross into the box and a Warrior knocked it past the keeper for the second “own goal” of the half.
With the big lead the Byrd girls played defense in the second half, making sure not to make a mistake or two that would allow the Warriors to get back in the game. With three minutes left the Terriers put some icing on a very sweet cake as Eva Brown found Andrews just outside the 15, and Logan put it over the keeper for a 5-0 final score.
“Overall we had a very successful season as district champions, region champions and a state tournament appearance,” said Cox.