Briar Woods 2, Douglas Freeman 0:
Rebels’ Bartoszek pleased with team’s season progress
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