First Colonial saw double.
Not only were the Patriots back in the girls soccer state championship, their opponent, Briar Woods, was the same.
Last year, First Colonial beat the Falcons in penalty kicks on their home field, but this time Briar Woods won 1-0 on its home field Saturday thanks to a first-half penalty kick.
“We played our hearts out,” said senior forward Karleigh Minson, “but I don’t think we played together as much as we could. But I have no doubt the next couple years they’ll be great. We have a good team coming up.”
Briar Woods looked strong early, eager to avenge last season’s defeat. Led by Virginia Tech commit Taylor Price, the Falcons set up in the attacking third and scored a penalty kick in the 17th minute.
Determined to slow down Price, the Patriots (17-2-1) deployed Maddie Kainer and Sydney Miller to shadow her and they did an exceptional job. The Falcons failed to score during the run of play.
However, neither did First Colonial.
Scales tipped toward the Patriots in the second half when the extra pressure was necessary, but shots were limited and lacked pace to challenge the goalkeeper.
“We started playing together a little bit more to the end,” Minson said. “When we do one-twos up top, we’re unstoppable and I think the emotions were really high. We were all just trying to score, get a goal and get level.”
As a frenetic back-and-forth emerged in the final 15 minutes, sophomore goalkeeper Charlotte Burge made several key saves to keep First Colonial hopes alive.
“I feel like we talked about containing them and allowing them to come to us and then we go at them at once,” Burge said of the defensive gameplan. “They could dribble right through us if we let them, so if we stayed compact we would’ve kept it contained.”
Time ran out, leaving a decorated senior class to finish with one state title and one state runner-up finish.
“We won the state championship the year  before they came into the program,” Burge said, “so they definitely had to step it up when their seniors previously left. They did a great job filling that role. I feel like they left a tremendous impact on our team and it will help us in the future.”
Burge is part of a large, talented sophomore class that’s set up for more success.
“I have no doubt they’ll be back here next year in the same position,” Minson said. “They have big shoes to fill, but I think they will. Just refuse to lose and play the FC Patriot way and they’ll be fine.”
Ray Nimmo, email@example.com