Blacksburg defeated Western Albemarle by a score of 1-0 to advance to the Region 4D Championship and secure a bid in the VHSL State Tournament. In the 25th minute, Mila Santsaver-Jones served a corner kick finding Kallan Malabad for the game winning goal.
Western outshot Blacksburg 16 to 7 on the evening. Blacksburg’s Paige Miller recorded 7 saves to earn the shutout while Western’s keeper stepped up with 2 big saves. Blacksburg recorded 2 corner kicks and Western had 4 corner kicks.
Quoted from the Roanoke Times.
BLACKSBURG — A last name like Malabad just has to spell trouble.
It certainly did for visiting Western Albemarle in the Region 4D girls soccer semifinal as Blacksburg’s Kallan Malabad scored the lone goal on a first-half header as the undefeated Bruins notched a 1-0 victory over the Warriors.
Blacksburg’s defense, which has allowed just three goals all season, made it stand up as the Bruins (18-0) advanced to Thursday’s region final against Salem, and more importantly qualified for the VHSL Class 4 state tournament.
The showdown between two of the state’s perennial powers was scoreless until 15 minutes, 59 seconds remained in the first half when Malabad connected on a header off a corner kick by Mila Santsaver-Jones.
“It felt amazing. We were all ecstatic on the field.”
“It was the first time [in 2022] they’ve noticed so I was definitely taken aback, but it ended up working out in the end,” she said.
Western Albemarle (12-3-3) came in having lost only to Class 5 Albemarle. The Warriors also won Class 3 state titles in 2017, ‘18, ‘19 and ‘21 before moving up to Class 4 this year.
Western coach Jake Desch was plenty familiar with Blacksburg, which won three consecutive Class 3 state championships from 2014-16 under veteran coach Travis Eschenmann and reached the Class 4 semifinals last year, losing to eventual champ Dominion.
The visitors had several second-half opportunities. What wasn’t shot just wide was swallowed up by Blacksburg sophomore goalkeeper Paige Miller.
Blacksburg, which defeated Western to win one of its three state championships, knew the Warriors’ reputation when the Charlottesville-area team moved up to Class 4.
We were definitely attentive to them. To keep [an eye] out for what their players were doing, but we were ready to play them.”
“I think we can handle it if it does,” Santsaver-Jones said.