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FairfaxSportsPotomac School wins conference soccer tourney girls title

Potomac School wins conference soccer tourney girls title

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About every four years on average or so, the Potomac School Panthers have won a conference-tournament soccer championship.

The 2022 fall campaign has been one of those seasons, the fifth in program history.

With a 3-0 record, the fourth-seeded Panthers (12-5-2) played well at the right time and won the Independent School League’s AA Division girls high-school tourney for the first time since 2018  by knocking off the No. 1 seed along the way.

In the championship match at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Potomac School nipped sixth-seeded Sidwell Friends, 2-1, on an early goal by Megan Rowe and the second-half game-winner with 11:51 to play from Brooke Parry, off a well-placed corner kick by senior tri-captain Ryan Wilson. The goal was Parry’s first of the season.

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“I made sure I tightened my shin guard and had the tongue in my shoe in the right place before I made that kick,” Wilson said. “I looked right at Brooke and kicked it right to her, and she put it in. We kept things positive, and everybody was in this tournament for us to win it.”

Wilson attempted a previous corner kick on the same sequence just seconds earlier, but didn’t kick the ball as far.

“We told her to drive it further on the second one,” Potomac School coach Ross McEwen said.

Amory Imperatore was in goal for the Panthers. Making a couple of big saves in front of the goalie was fullback Maya Davis.

“I thought the first 20 minutes of the game we were all over them, then the next 20 they scored and were all over us,” McEwen said. “We talked and made some adjustments at halftime and played much better in the second half.”

McEwen was not surprised the Panthers won the tournament.

“We returned a core group of players this season, we have so much young talent and the players all got healthy at the right time,” he said.

Kiki Bell, Selma Elrefai and senior captain Sienna Staver helped lead the defense in the title match. Also contributing in the final were Margit Crittenberger, Sonali Kaneriya and Teresa Picconatto,

The semifinal brought a 3-1 win over that top seed Stone Ridge, which beat the Panthers during regular-season play.

In that contest, Rowe scored two goals, one on a penalty kick, and Ally Griswold had the other. Reagan Exley and Aiden Marin had assists.

(Goalie Imperatore) “played phenomenal against Stone Ridge,” McEwen said. “Our defense in front of her was incredible. We shut down their offensive stars and limited  them to very few quality scoring chances.”

In the first round, Potomac School downed fifth seed St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, 4-2. Exley, Marin and Wilson and captain Samantha Taylormoore, both on penalty kicks, scored the goals. Marin and Griswold had assists.

Imperatore earned the win in goal.

Following the ISL tourney, Potomac School was the top seed in the fifth annual four-team girls Northern Virginia Independent state soccer tournament, and finished second, going 1-1 on its home field.

The Panthers blanked fourth-seed Paul VI Catholic, 2-0, in the semifinals then lost 2-0 to defending champion and second-seed Bishop O’Connell in the title match. O’Connell defeated Potomac School in last year’s state final in penalty kicks.

“It was a fun game and we would have liked to have won both titles,” McEwen said after the state final. “Their goalie was outstanding. We couldn’t get one past her, and we had some good chances.”

Against Paul VI, Griswold and Staver scored the goals. Griswold’s goal was a 25-yard shot off a pass from Wilson. Staver scored left footed off of a loose-ball situation.

“We had to win a lot of 50-50 balls to keep them on their heels, and settle in early,” Potomac School coach McEwen said.

NOTE: Potomac School has played in the state-tourney final all five seasons, finishing second in 2017 and 2018, winning the title in 2019 and was second last fall. The 2020 tourney was not held because of the pandemic.

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