Daily Press (Sunday)

Loudoun Valley’s OT goal denies Gloucester a title

- By Jim McGrath Staff writer

VIRGINIA BEACH — In a dramatic finish, the Gloucester field hockey team fell just short of winning a Class 4 state title as Loudoun Valley topped the Dukes 2-1 in overtime.

The game was a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation, and as both teams whittled down to six players (and a goalie) for the overtime, the action was hot and heavy.

Both teams raced up and down the field with urgency, stopping each other’s shots and maintainin­g a quick transition rate. But midway through the first overtime period, the Vikings stole the ball and forwarded it to midfielder Katie Miller. Miller’s first open shot at Gloucester goalie Addyson Zabicki was blocked, but she got a stick on the rebound and poked in the game-winning goal with 4:14 left in the extra period.

Both teams were making their first appearance in the Class 4 final, although the Dukes won the Class 5 state title in 2018.

Abby Junker got Gloucester on the board first, blasting a liner into the Vikings’ goal midway through the first period.

The Dukes took a tenuous 1-0 lead to the half.

As the final seconds of the third quarter ticked off, Loudoun Valley lined up in the circle formation. After the ball traveled from the end line and bounced off of several sticks, Kearney Cunningham found the ball in front of the net, delivering a grounder that found the back of the net and tied the score at 1 to end the period.

Loudoun Valley had another scoring chance on a breakaway with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Zabicki got the kickout before falling on the ball for a key save.

Three minutes later, Gloucester’s MacKenzi Reece took a breakaway pass down the right sideline, but a Vikings defender knocked away her cross pass from the right. A last effort by Loudoun Valley resulted in a shot going wide right in the final 10 seconds of regulation.

Gloucester coach Joe Dougherty is optimistic about his team’s future.

“We finished 18-3 and made it to states, so emotions are high when there are only two teams left standing. But we lose only three seniors, so we will rebound and be back.”

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