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FairfaxTough-luck finishes for Potomac School soccer team

Tough-luck finishes for Potomac School soccer team

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Talk about the epitome of disappointing tough luck.

One loss in penalty kicks of a championship soccer match would be heartbreaking enough. But suffering a second such setback just six days later is almost cruel.

That’s what the Potomac School Panthers endured at the end of their 2021 girls high-school season in title matches of the Independent School League AA Division tournament, then in the championship of the four-team Northern Virginia Independent School tournament.

In the five matches the Panthers played in those two tournaments, they allowed just one goal in regulation play.


“We played great defense, but had no titles to show for it. That was devastating, to say the least,” Potomac School coach Ross McEwen said. “We were that close to winning it all, but had some tough-luck bounces go against us. We had shots hit a cross bar  and a goal post. To be that close is hard. Those are life skills you learn in sports sometimes.”

The Panthers lost in the ISL final to Georgetown Visitation, finishing 2-1 in the competition. As the top seed, they came up short to second-seeded Bishop O’Connell in the Northern Virginia Invitational, going 1-1. Both matches were scoreless at the end of regulation and entering the penalty-kicks portion of overtime.

“A couple of inches decided both,” McEwen said. “A total bummer. But we had a great team, played well when it mattered and deserved a different outcome.”

In the ISL tourney, Potomac School blanked Maret, 2-0, in the first round, then Stone Ridge, 1-0, in the semifinals. In the invitational, the 2019 champion Panthers won on penalty kicks over fourth-seeded Paul VI Catholic in the semifinals.

The Panthers’ final overall record was 10-8-2.

Potomac School had six returning players this fall, including five seniors, from the 2019 team along with 14 newcomers. The 2020 season wasn’t held because of COVID.

“We had a very young, deep and talented team, and a lot of optimism,” McEwen said. “We knew we would be good defensively and would be able to compete with any team. We had some injuries when we lost some players and games, and had a tough stretch during the middle of the season.”

Senior forward Helen Otteni was Potomac School’s leading scorer with 17 goals. Kayla Rolph led the defense.

Senior captain Caroline Lesher played like an MVP all season,  according to McEwen, never missed a game or practice and never came off the field.

Senior goalie Kylie Fischer allowed just the one regulation goal in the team’s five playoff games.

Senior forward Charlotte Krilla scored a number of important goals, including one with 20 seconds to play against Stone Ridge to help earn the team a regular-season tie.

NOTE: Potomac School has played in the championship match all four times the Northern Virginia Invitational has been held, also finishing second in 2017 and 2018. The 2020 tourney wasn’t played because of COVID.

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