Blacksburg earned the #1 seed in the state tournament by defeating Broadway 5-0. Ali Palmer scored the game winning goal in the 3rd minute on an assist from Catie Walters. Ashlen Burch added a second goal in the 5th minute on an assist from Maddie Dickinson. After much possession the Ali Palmer scored her second goal of the day in the 35th minute on and assist from Meghan Shelton. In the second half, Eden Elizabeth Phillips scored on and assist from Sophia Thompson in the 66th minute. Blake Carroll capped the scoring with a 5th, unassisted, goal in the 70th minute.
•Chris Martin recorded 1 save and Sarah Sallee helped preserve the shutout while the Broadway goal keeper made 14 saves. Blacksburg had 18 shots compared to Broadway’s 4 shots. Blacksburg had 9 corner kicks to 1 for Broadway.
Quoted from the Roanoke Times.
Blacksburg crushes Culpeper for 3rd straight 3A girls soccer title, Aaron McFarling
Special Thanks to The Roanoke Times
LYNCHBURG — How to top what you’ve already done?
That’s the question that faces any state champion, and it goes double for back-to-back champs. Expectations can be an albatross for teams that do little else but win. Fear not: The Blacksburg girls soccer team still has a few answers.
Capping an undefeated season with an utterly dominant performance, the Bruins erupted for six goals in the first half and defeated Culpeper 6-0 on Saturday at Liberty University, claiming their third consecutive VHSL Group 3A state championship. “It’s hard for me to put in perspective,” Blacksburg coach Travis Eschenmann said. “It really is.”
Let’s do our best.
The win was the most lopsided shutout victory by a girls soccer team in a VHSL title game — any classification — in 16 years. It extended Blacksburg’s unbeaten streak to 65 matches. And it punctuated a season in which the Bruins (20-0-2) did not concede a single goal during the run of play, allowing just two penalty kicks to find the back of the net.
“Awesome,” Blacksburg senior defender Sophia Thompson said. “When we were sophomores, and we won for the first time in our school history, that was one of the best moments in my life. “Just the fact that we’ve gone so far and now we’ve ended up having all these wins and no losses, I couldn’t want anything better. It’s just been amazing.”
Junior forward Catie Walters, who delivered a hat track Saturday, remembers what it’s like to lose a soccer match. Vaguely. It last happened on April 4, 2014, when she was a freshman. “It was one of the first games,” Walters said. “And that’s the last game I’ve lost. I never expected that. My freshman year was the first state championship title, so I didn’t expect to win that year, and then the next year, and then the year after. It’s crazy.” Teammates could sense early that Walters was heading for a big day. During the pregame activities, she belted 20-yard rockets into the corners of the nets. “Oh, my gosh,” Thompson said. “In warmups, she was hitting these amazing shots, and we were like, ‘Catie, you’re on fire!’ I was like, ‘Wow. I wonder if she’ll do that in the game?’ ” She did. Three minutes in, Walters opened the scoring from well outside the 18-yard box, unleashing a high shot off the fingertips of Culpeper keeper Sophia Barros into the net. She made it 2-0 in the 18th minute by scoring from a sharp angle on the left side. “The first half, all I can say: It was unfortunate for us,” Culpeper coach Erick Kalenga said. “The first two goals really took the morale down.” And the Bruins had no desire to let it resurface. The third goal — a so-called “Olimpico” scored by Thompson directly off a corner kick in the 28th minute — was mostly an accident. “Actually, Travis got a little mad at us,” said Blacksburg senior goalkeeper Chris Martin, who will play soccer and basketball at Roanoke College next year. “He doesn’t like us to do the corners where they curve in. He gets mad. He wants us to execute the corners. It’s really funny, actually. “But I thought it was still a good goal. Sophia’s actually done that a couple of times, too.”
The onslaught was on. Forward Ali Palmer, who’d assisted on the first goal, struck in the 32nd minute. Walters completed her hat trick in the 37th. In first half stoppage time, Anna Beyer scored to give the Bruins a half-dozen. Several Bruins had to pinch themselves as the goals kept coming. “Yes,” Thompson said. “Especially during those corners. I was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, is this really happening?’ It was crazy. It didn’t feel real.”
The second half resembled a friendly. Martin moved out of goal, allowing backup Sarah Sallee to preserve the goal-less streak, and headed to offense. Eschenmann made wholesale substitutions late in the match to allow all the seniors to play together one last time. No doubt they’d earned it.
“I think we’ve built a legacy here,” said Palmer, one of eight seniors. “It’s been built by past players and also by the future players and by ourselves. “And,” she added, in a subtle command to the 2017 Bruins, “I think it will continue.”
Dark clouds and thunder interrupted proceedings a couple of minutes into the second half, and a 30-minute delay followed. Refreshed, the Bruins came back with their prettiest and then most unusual goals of the game. First, Eden-Elizabeth Phillips scored on a header off a corner kick . “That’s the thing I like, we’re scoring in a variety of ways,” Eschenmann said. Blake Carroll closed the onslaught when she belted a free kick from midfield that one-hopped the goalkeeper and nestled in the net over her head. There is something special about this team, said defender Sophia Thompson, one of the senior veterans. “We are relentless with everything we’ve done,” she said. “We have so many ways we can score that it makes us a dangerous team.”