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Reighard blasts Tigers by Cougars in conference semis

For about 1.5 frames, the Tuesday night Kettle Run-Brentsville District varsity girls soccer match up really could have gone either way during the Conference 27 semifinals.

Yet all it took was one successful shot from the host Tigers to capture momentum and end Kettle Run's season with a 1-0 victory on the Prince William side of Nokesville.

Brentsville's goal came from midfielder Emily Reighard, one of three freshmen on the varsity roster.

She received a cross pass on a corner kick from sophomore defender Jill Wright that bounced around the outer goal box.

The freshman aimed for the top left corner of the net and deposited her shot off the inside of her right foot for the go-ahead go about halfway through the second half.

"It was like crazy," said Reighard. "I felt like we got a ton of momentum."

Kettle Run had two prime scoring opportunties of their own thwarted by Brentsville goal keeper Charlotte Davis.

During a corner kick in the first half, the freshman goalie leaped in the air to punch out a would-be goal with a single hand after it was crossed over the middle of the goal box.

Her other save came on a shot to the right side of the goal Kettle Run junior forward Emily Yergin in what amounted to one of the few times the Cougars' penetrated the Tigers' defensive line.

In fact, Brentsville specifically singled out Yergin, rotating Wright and seniors Zhanna Farrior and Madison Stanley against her.

"I had to have her marked because of her speed and aggressiveness to the ball," said first-year Brentsville head coach Sonny Barrickman. "Kettle Run, in our conference, is probably the best counter-attack team there is."

Yergin scored a goal in both of Kettle Run's outings against Brentsville during the regular season.

The center backs Wright and Farrior conducted traffic in a way too, directing their corresponding outside defenders against Yergin or the lead striker for Kettle Run.

Meanwhile, they would slide behind the play as a last line of defense in case the opposing Cougar broke through.

Brentsville effectively used a rope-style, sliding defense in which one player would pursue the ball and three others would slide in to defend.

When transitioning up-field, Reighard noted that the offense "would play it in the center and player it outside when we could."

The speedy Tigers specifically used their speed to their advantage along the perimeter of the field, led by starting junior midfielder Selena Mendo.

Once Brentsville established its offensive set-up, Reighard worked in a triangle formation with fellow freshman Morgan Pettit and junior midfielder Allie Angel to play the ball through the center of the Cougars' defensive line.

Barrickman described Kettle Run as a "very good" team, noting that the two teams tied the last time they played against each other on the Prince William County side of Nokesville on May 8.

In that game, Emily Brummett scored twice for the Cougars, once on a penalty kick and once on an assist from Allie Zuras while Yergin deposited Kettle Run's other goal unassisted.

Alyssa Rodemsky assisted Yergin for Kettle Run's only goal during the Cougars' 2-1 home loss to Brentsville on April 15 on the Fauquier side of Nokesville.

Before the start of the season, Barrickman explained that the girls laid out their goals for the season.

The Tigers didn't let their relatively young age deter them from seeking the promised land: the Group 3A state championship.

In order to get there though, Brentsville's nine under-classmen and 11 upper-classmen would need to punch their ticket out of Conference 27 play and into the Group 3A East Region tournament.

One down.

'I think it's really exciting," said Davis after the Kettle Run game, explaining how the team benefits from its youth. "We'll have a strong team in the future years."

Brentsville will next have to win in the regional semifinals to automatically qualify for states.

Losing ahead of then means the season's done. Winning in the regional semis would allow the Tigers to compete for the East championship and a higher seed headed into the final four of the state tournament.

"The biggest thing we have to do is stay calm; stay organized," said Barrickman, cautioning his players against trying to perform too many tasks. "All of the girls have talent."
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