Brown nets second-half hat trick
LOUDOUN CO. 3, HERITAGE 1
lynchburg, va. — In the first half of Saturday morning’s Virginia 4A girls’ soccer state title game, constant double teams barely allowed standout midfielder Emily Littell any touches for undefeated Loudoun County. Heritage senior goalkeeper Zoe Foxhall helped orchestrate the containment of one of the area’s most lethal scorers, and her first-half saves left the Raiders facing their first halftime deficit of the season.
While Littell’s space remained limited to start the secondhalf, Allyson Brown stepped up and broke free. The sophomore’s unassisted second-half hat trick secured Loudoun County’s first state championship in a 3-1 win over Heritage at Liberty University.
“I like it when teams double or triple Emily. It leaves the whole middle wide open,” said Brown, who had 32 goals on the season.
“It feels great. This has been our number one goal all season, and to come back like we did shows how much we wanted this.”
After a stellar first-half performance by Foxhall (six saves) sent Heritage (16-7) into the half with a 1-0 lead, it was clear the Raiders needed a special strike to get the ball past her. That’s precisely what Brown delivered three minutes into the second half.
She picked the ball off of a Pride defender and fired a rightfooted curler from 18 yards out that spun out of the reach of Foxhall and into the top corner. Seventeen seconds later, Foxhall again was forced to pick the ball out of her own net after Brown turned over a Heritage defender straight off the kickoff before finishing on the breakaway.
“I was thinking about how I was going to score the whole time, but I knew it was better to not think about it and just let it happen,” Brown said. “Zoe is one of the best goalies I have ever seen, and it’s so hard to play against her.”
Foxhall helped build her team’s halftime lead six minutes into the contest when her monstrous drop-kick took only one bounce to reach the top of the Raiders’ 18-yard box. From there, junior forward Kathryn Counts took advantage of defensive indecision to run onto the bouncing ball and smash home the game’s opening goal.
The victory was the first in five trips to the state finals for Loudoun County (23-0-1).