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Thursday, December 1, 2022
ArlingtonCommentary: The players were allowed to play

Commentary: The players were allowed to play

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They let them play, so the girls high-school soccer match became more fun and entertaining to watch.

The high-school championship clash was between the Bishop O’Connell Knights and host Potomac School Panthers playing for the Northern Virginia Invitational state tournament title. Right away, it was apparent the referee had decided to let the girls play a physical match. There was nothing dirty or any cheap-shotting, but there definitely was a good degree of pushing, bumping and elbowing as players challenged for the ball – by participants on both teams.

If one player initiated a push, the other pushed or elbowed back some, while the referee continued to swallow his whistle. Play on.

The best part? None of the girls complained, took a fake flop or dramatically flared their arms into the air in the direction of the referee asking for a foul. Those actions are regularly witnessed during many boys high-school soccer games. (Also, the girls weren’t trash-talking like boys do.)

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What the teams were doing was playing hard and not allowing the physical nature of the contest affected them mentally. They embraced the style of play and just played.

That was refreshing and inspirational to watch – no complaining, just adapting to the nature of the competition and just playing.

Potomac School head coach Ross McEwen admitted as much, saying his players prefer that physical style of play and challenge. It makes them play better and harder. O’Connell coach Alberto Starace certainly agreed.

The match was tightly contested, with O’Connell winning 2-0, but the Panthers taking a late flurry of shots and not backing down.

Good for that soccer referee for allowing the teams to play in a big championship match, and not blowing his whistle every time opposing players made any kind of mild contact.

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