The Loudoun Valley Ladies’ Lacrosse team made it to the Regional semifinals, but lost to crosstown rival and Dulles District champion Woodgrove, ending their season. With one of the youngest teams in recent memory, Valley surprised everyone with a highly successful season despite only returning 8 upperclassmen from last year’s team.
In dramatic fashion, the team had earned a bid to the Regional tournament with their overtime win over Tuscarora in Dulles District competition on Wednesday, May 16. The game was about as tense and exciting as it gets as both teams struggled to move on to qualify for the next round of play. The Lady Vikings, who beat Tuscarora handily just weeks ago in the regular season, took an early lead, but had their hands full as it was apparent the Huskies would not go quietly this time around.
Valley got off to an early lead and appeared in command to begin the game, but Tuscarora battled back with a patient, ball control offense designed to force mistakes and draw penalties from the young Viking team. The strategy worked as the Huskies evened the score at 6-6 by halftime. It was more of the same in the second half as Tuscarora continued to control the ball and soon built a 3 goal lead half way through the second half. One could feel the sense of urgency as Valley struggled to regain possession and claw their way back. Sophomore Corley Simons was key in controlling several draws enabling the Vikes to unleash their unstoppable offensive weapon in All-District sophomore standout Ashlyn DiLoreto who ended up with an incredible 7 goals on the night. Despite their efforts, Valley found themselves down 11-12 with less than two minutes to play. DiLoreto delivered again by slamming home the tying goal with 1:22 remaining.
The ensuing draw was an intense battle for the ball with Tuscarora finally gaining control and settling into their patient offensive strategy. It paid off again as they drew yet another penalty which resulted in an 8 meter penalty shot against Viking freshman goalie Haley Shuford. One could feel the desperation in the air among the Valley faithful, but Shuford stopped the shot. The Huskies, however, regained control and again set up for the winning goal. Again, the strategy earned them another 8 meter penalty shot on the freshman who deflected it as well as two point blank follow on shots. Out of the ensuing melee, All-District senior defender Caitlin Gore came away with the ball giving the Vikings a last ditch chance to win it with an unsuccessful fast break shot on goal by freshman standout Maya Ebrahimnejad as time expired.
In the first of the two scheduled 3 minute overtimes, Corley Simons controlled the draw giving Valley possession and the opportunity to hold the ball for a final shot. They again turned to their offensive powerhouse, DiLoreto for providence who came through with a score to take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first overtime period. Simons won the draw again to start the second overtime and Valley began to hold the ball in hopes of running off the time to end the game. The Huskies’ defense then forced a turnover and capitalized with a fast break goal to tie the game at 13 apiece. Simons was having none of it, however, as she won the ensuing draw and took the ball straight downfield and scored the winning goal with 20 seconds left giving Valley a 14-13 win.
The Lady Vikings concluded the Dulles District tournament with an invitation to Regional competition against Fauquier County. Standouts for the tournament offensively were Ashlyn DiLoreto with 13 goals, Maya Ebrahimnejad with 7, senior All-District (second team) Courtney Halterman with 4, junior Courtney Inman and sophomore Corley Simons with 3, sophomores Sarah Ashworth, Brittany Raffa, and Courtney Schollian with 2, and freshman Lily Hamilton with 1. All-District seniors Payton Boyer and Caitlin Gore led the Lady Vikings’ defense along with second team All-District sophomore Anna Munford. In goal, freshman Haley Shuford recorded 14 saves, sophomore Kelsey Greene had 10, and senior Valley standout Maggie Beglau briefly came back off injury with 5.
In their first Regional contest, the Lady Vikings rolled over the Fauquier County Falcons 19-6. After a slow start, Valley caught fire near the end of the first half and took a 9-5 lead into the locker room. The second half was all Valley as standout sophomore Corley Simons controlled nearly every single draw giving the Lady Vikings near-constant possession of the ball for the remainder of the game. Ashlyn DiLoreto led all scorers with 7 goals, followed by junior Cortney Inman with 3, sophomores Corley Simons, Courtney Schollian, and Brittany Raffa as well as freshman Maya Ebrahimnejad with 2, and senior Courtney Halterman with 1. Ebrahimnejad dished out 4 assists while DiLoreto, Inman, and Raffa each had 2. Senior Caitlin Gore and sophomores Sarah Ashworth and Corley Simons had one assist apiece. Defensively, Gore, fellow senior Payton Boyer, and sophomore Anna Munford led the way. This made life easy for freshman goalie Haley Shuford in the second half who had 8 of her 10 saves on the night in the first half of play.
The Lady Vikings’ bid for a Regional Championship came to an end late Thursday night, May 24 with a 21-11 loss to District champion and crosstown rival Woodgrove. Valley will graduate 6 seniors this year with Maggie Beglau and Caitlin Gore moving on to play at the collegiate level. Several Vikings made first team All-District this year including seniors Payton Boyer, Rachel Swan, and Caitlin Gore and sophomores Ashlyn Diloreto. Second team All-District honorees were Courtney Halterman, Megan Williamson, and Anna Munford. The team excelled this season under the leadership of Valley coaches Tracey Albro and Kaitlin Quigley.
Photo: Freshman Maya Ebrahimnejad on a fast break.