Briar Woods 2, Dou­glas Free­man 0:

Rebels’ Bar­toszek pleased with team’s sea­son progress

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - SPORTS+ - BY WAYNE EPPS JR. wepps@times­dis­ (804) 649-6442 @wayneepp­sjr

De­spite be­ing shut out Satur­day, coach Bill Bar­toszek and the Rebels are op­ti­mistic about the team’s fu­ture, hav­ing surged to the ti­tle game.

Through­out this sea­son, Dou­glas Free­man girls soc­cer coach Bill Bar­toszek has seen his team ma­ture each prac­tice, each game and each week.

The Rebels peaked at the end of the sea­son, Bar­toszek said. And he thought his group be­came a full team with Fri­day’s state semi­fi­nal win over Deep Run.

So, even af­ter a 2-0 loss to Briar Woods in Satur­day’s Class 5 state fi­nal at Glen Allen, Free­man walked away with a solid foun­da­tion.

“We’ve started the cul­ture of, ‘OK, this is where we want to be ev­ery year, in the state cham­pi­onship, or the state fi­nals,’ ” Bar­toszek said.

Briar Woods (21-1-2) beat the Rebels (16-4-1) on two first-half goals by se­nior Abby Mal­tese. And the Free­man at­tack, led by ju­nior Lau­ren Bruns, who scored both of the Rebels’ goals Fri­day, didn’t cre­ate enough scor­ing chances, Bar­toszek said.

Briar Woods’ phys­i­cal­ity was a chal­lenge for Free­man.

“They kind of try to neu­tral­ize [Bruns],” Bar­toszek said. “And when you do that, it makes it tough on the rest of us. We weren’t get­ting peo­ple for­ward. They had a good back line, they played a good de­fense, they had a di­a­mond. And it kind of neu­tral­ized all of us.”

Both of the Fal­cons’ goals ma­te­ri­al­ized quickly. With just less than 30 minutes to play in the first half, Mal­tese cor­ralled a pass and smoothly tapped in the ball to the left of Free­man fresh­man goal­keeper Lau­ren Har­grove. Then, with about six minutes left in the half, Mal­tese got loose on a fast break and beat Har­grove for the two-goal ad­van­tage.

“They were just both great balls from my team­mates and stuff that we found [op­por­tu­ni­ties] to break through,” said Mal­tese, who has com­mit­ted to James Madi­son.

Dou­glas Free­man came inches away from what would’ve been an equal­izer with about 17 minutes to play in the first half, when ju­nior Sa­man­tha Fee’s header off a cross clanged off the cross­bar. That was per­haps the Rebels’ best scor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

Though they fell short Satur­day, Bruns said that, in get­ting to the state fi­nal, she learned any­thing is pos­si­ble.

“We knew we had a good team go­ing into the sea­son, but I don’t think we quite thought we were the cal­iber to get this far,” Bruns said. “This team showed so much will and per­sis­tence and con­fi­dence and grit.”

But the Rebels aren’t con­tent. Now that they see what’s pos­si­ble, a fire has been lit, Bruns said.

“Sec­ond’s awe­some and it’s some­thing that we should be re­ally proud of, and we are re­ally proud of,” she said. “But it’s not first. And that’s what I want, and that’s what we all want.”


Briar Woods’ Abby Mal­tese sneaks around Dou­glas Free­man goal­keeper Lau­ren Har­grove to score one of her two goals in the Fal­cons’ 2-0 vic­tory in the Class 5 girls soc­cer cham­pi­onship game at Glen Allen High School.

Class 5 girls soc­cer fi­nal BRIAR WOODS 2, DOU­GLAS FREE­MAN 0

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