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‘I AM VERY PROUD OF THESE GIRLS': Falcons, Cougars fall in field hockey regionals

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Fauquier finished a successful season with an 11-7-1 record after losing to Heritage 3-0 in the Class 4 Region D semifinals. Kettle Run lost its region semifinal to Loudoun County 6-0 to finish with a 9-8 mark.

 The Fauquier and Kettle Run field hockey teams could not overcome the firepower of the Dulles District schools in the Class 4 Region D semifinals.

Visiting Kettle Run, the Northwestern District's No. 2 representative, dropped a 6-0 mercy rule decision Nov. 2 at Loudoun County, the Dulles District's tournament champion. The Cougars ended their season at 9-8.

On Nov. 3, host Fauquier absorbed a 3-0 loss against Heritage. The top seed out of the Northwestern District, Fauquier finished 11-7-1.

The two Dulles rivals squared off for a fourth time last Thursday in the championship game, with Heritage recording a 2-1 overtime win for the regional crown. 

Heritage (15-6) hosted Courtland, the region C runner-up, Tuesday night in a state Class 4 quarterfinal. Loudoun County (17-4) traveled to Region C champion Chancellor in the other quarter.

Falcons' season ends

Heritage needed just three minutes, six seconds to open the scoring off a penalty corner. 

Falcon goalkeeper Erin Irvin made two close range stops, but a pass after the second rebound to an unguarded Lauren Murphy resulted in a score. Irvin would finish with 16 saves, many of a difficult nature.

Both teams registered three corners in the period, but Fauquier had game-long problems executing their attempts.

"I definitely was disappointed in our corner plays," Fauquier coach Brooke Settle lamented. "We have been very successful this year with them, and for whatever reason we fell short."  

Heritage struck again with 6:38 to play in the second quarter for a 2-0 halftime edge.

The Falcons picked up their intensity in an effort to come back.

"I was pleased with the second half," Settle said. "I felt like we had some really good movement and some nice offensive drives."

The third period was scoreless. Heritage made it 3-0 with 10:30 left in the game.

"We had a lot of opportunities and fell short on touches and post tap ins," Settle noted. "Which really affected our ability to score.  I wish we had a little more grit in the circle, but overall the girls never gave up and really kept in the battle.

"I am very proud of these girls," Settle said. "We went from the last two seasons being pretty rough to a winning season.

"The girls fought hard and continued to make improvements throughout the year. The girls really did a great job improving throughout the season."

Bloom records 23 saves

A final score does not indicate the level of play or individual achievements. 

The Kettle Run defense faced a persistent attack in losing 6-0 at Loudoun County, and the final count could have been more lopsided except for the play of junior goalkeeper Katie Bloom. 

She finished with 23 saves against the 17-win Loudoun County squad. Bloom also had a 32-save outing earlier in the season

Scoreless for more than 17 minutes, the host Captains then went on a binge with three goals in a span of 3:24 to break the game open. The first came with 12:33 remaining in the first half, followed by scores at 9:30 and 9:09.

"We started out really strong and held them the whole first quarter," Kettle  Run coach Julie Kulhberg said, adding her team “got discouraged after they scored a couple times."

Loudoun County cranked up its penalty corner game in the second half, with all three goals coming off those opportunities. 

The Captains scored at the 13:55 and 2:24 marks of the third period before a goal with 10:16 on the fourth-quarter clock brought the game to an end. Kettle Run had a third-quarter corner and finished with "four or five" shots on goal.

"I think my season was great," Kuhlberg stressed. "We lost 10 seniors last year, and as you know replacing that many starters is hard.

"The team really stepped up to the challenge. We have a lot of talent and are glad we made it to regional play again this season."

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