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Dietrich’s 74th minute strike sends Falcon girls past Kettle Run, 1-0

Friday, May. 16 | By Peter Brewington
Kettle Run's Erika Blevins and Fauquier's Mia Barreda battle for possession. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Kettle Run vs. Fauquier girls soccer was the only varsity game in Fauquier County Friday thanks to torrential rains the day before, which washed away most sports events for two days.

Played on Kettle Run's field, which drains well, it was another local classic as the visiting Falcon girls succeeded gloriously in frustrating rival Kettle Run for the second time this year, winning 1-0 on a late goal by sophomore midfielder Megan Dietrich.

The first time they played on April 8 at Falcon Field, Fauquier’s Megan Enos scored in the first five minutes, and the Cougars spent 75 minutes trying to tie it, and couldn’t as the Falcons also won 1-0.

This time the teams spent the first 75 minutes testing each other before the Falcons once again made the decisive play.

In the 74th minute Falcon junior midfielder/defender Laura Cornish sent a corner kick towards the Kettle Run box. Cougar goalie Jackie Doores was all over the shot, which was sent to the front end of the box and a little outside, closing on it like she had it.

Seemingly on the verge of catching it, the junior goalie watched it glance off her hands and disastrously to the ground in front of the KRHS net, where Dietrich punched it home for the eventual game-winner in the 74th minute.

“It hit her fingertips,” said Dietrich. “I went for the header, it fell to me and I hit it with my left foot. I was in the right spot at the right time.”

Although there were still over five minutes left plus stoppage time, Kettle Run mounted a flurry or two but ran out of time, meaning they they’ve gone 160 minutes this year without a goal against Fauquier goalie Caroline Liebel and her defense.

Fauquier coach Rick Ashley is proud of that stat as his Falcons improved to 9-5 and played their ninth game decided by one-goal this season. They're 7-2 in those one-goal games, including 3-1 in games that ended 1-0.

Just as importantly, it was the first time Fauquier has ever beat KRHS on its home field. "Before we left school we talked about how this was a big rivalry game and we could not back down," said Ashley.

Kettle Run fell to 7-5-1 but as this was a non-conference game, still lead Conference 27 at 5-1. FHS is 9-5 and sits second in Conference 22 at 6-4, well behind leader Courtland at 6-0-1.

Ashley said the Falcons schemed to try to deny Cougar midfield playmaker Erika Blevins’ deadly ability to send the ball crossfield to marauding attackers like Emily Brummett and Taylor Decker.

“Erika can serve balls 40 or 50 yards across the field. We tried to cut that option out,” said Ashley.

While her Cougars enjoyed dominance of the midfield and time of possession, Kettle Run coach Elizabeth Martin found her team’s inability to break down the stacked Falcon defense almost annoying.

Martin said the Falcons did some things Kettle Run did not expect, and were very physical. “They put numbers in the back, it looked like six were back there,” said Martin.

By the same token, Kettle Run was also sharp defensively and focused on stopping Fauquier counterattacks, especially from junior star Megan Enos, a predatory forward with lightning speed and keen offensive instincts. Cougar central defenders Hope Kase and Kaeley Baccus were very aware of Enos -- who Ashley said has accepted an offer to play NCAA Division I soccer -- and marked her doggedly.

Before surrendering the game-winning goal, Doores made a decisive save on a Enos solo run up the right side in the 50th minute, coming out of goal to make a highlight reel sliding block with her lower body that saved her Cougars at the time. Enos' shot caromed out front and out of danger as play remained deadlocked at 0-0.

“Today was a battle of goalkeepers,” said Martin.

It's not like both teams didn't create chances though. Blevins had a free kick whack off the crossbar from 20 yards in the third minute and Brummett almost beat Liebel with a low scorching bullet in the 62nd. But more often then not Fauquier's back line of Megan Diehl, Gaby Tirado, Laura Cornish, Elizabeth Liebel and Kailey Vance stopped most Cougar advances fairly early.

Recruited to play at the U.S.. Military Academy, Blevins revealed the power in her right leg on numerous occasions and easily could have scored from distance on a free kick or long shot during the run of play. She had a good chance in the 69th minute, sending a free kick over the wall that was well struck but right at Liebel.

Late in the game Falcon Claire Beaulieu raced back to thwart a Cougar semi-breakaway with a well-timed kick. Kettle Run's last best chance came in the 79th minute on a Blevins corner kick. The corner was knocked back outside to Blevins on the short right side. Envisioning an opening to the near post, the senior playmaker then drilled a low shot into the side of the net from about 12 yards, resulting in a goal kick by FHS.

While there was plenty of excellent soccer displayed by both teams, Ashley's girls had won by staying airtight defensively. They absorbed most of Kettle Run's forays, created some positive offense out of Enos, Mia Barreda and Cassidy Wagoner and got the big break they needed at the end.

"That's how we have to play. It's a good group, they all play travel soccer," said the FHS coach.

Ashley said Barreda will play at George Washington University and Enos also recently committed to a D-I school, although he wasn't sure it was official and did not want to name it for publication.

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