BHS boys, girls lax three-peat as regional champs
It's almost safe to declare that Battlefield High School's best sport is lacrosse.
Both the girls and boys varsity teams secured their third-consecutive Northwest Regional championship on Thursday, with the girls first topping Osbourn Park 19-11 in Manassas and the boys following up with a 10-6 home win over Broad Run.
While both Bobcat teams are the first from Battlefield to advance to the Group AAA state tournament this spring, the Yellow Jackets and Spartans are also still dancing, having made the final group of eight via their appearance in the regional finals.
However, OP's boys lacrosse team will be missing out on states despite a 17-1 overall record that includes regular-season and post-season Cardinal District titles.
The reason: a 10-4 loss to Battlefield in Haymarket on May 21 during the regional semi-finals.
Osbourn Park's Ethan Compton tied the game up at 1-1 during the first quarter but the game quick turned into a Battlefield shooting spree that resulted in a 7-1 halftime score.
"We just lost our momentum," said Compton, adding that one difference for Battlefield came down to "ground balls, big time."
Junior attackman Josh Wedel agreed, saying, "I felt like every ball went their way... They just had the luck."
According to Wedel, Battlefield is "definitely the best team we've seen all year."
"Battlefield did a great job of spreading out wide and passing the ball well," said Osbourn Park coach Nick Thompson. "Battlefield's very disciplined.... They don't throw a lot forced passes or forced looks."
Forest Park's girls team met the same fate as the OP boys on the same day, falling to Battlefield 15-5 during the regional semi-finals.
Senior Sydnee Cruz and sophomore Kenzi Higareda both netted two goals for the Bruins while senior teammate Claire Palermo-Re added the other.
As for what the victory meant, senior Tori Clark summed up that, "We're here.
What the boys and girls teams have in common is that they both typically score at least 10 goals a game.
The boys have won with fewer goals but the girls lost four in a row in March, three of which only included single-digit tallies for the Bobcats.
During their run through the playoffs, Abby Wescott has led offensively, scoring six goals in the district tournament championship against Broad Run won by Battlefield 19-9.
She netted five more Thursday night while teammate Emilie Barbosa turned in her third consecutive hat trick of the post-season.
Yet there's more.
In the Broad Run game, Barbosa (three goals), Alexis Swingle, Alexandra Kugler and Sierra DeBord (two goals each) all contributed multiple goals while Madi Sunderland, Clark and Annmarie Lutz added one goal a piece.
Against Forest Park, Faith Wells and Barbosa both drilled three goals each while Westcott, Sunderland and Lutz all buried two.
That shows is the girls depth chart is as potent as the boys; in that, even with a couple prime scorers, the Bobcats have several other options for who else can light up the scoreboard.
According to Westcott, the defense and midfield allowed Battlefield to hold on against Osbourn Park.
"We had at least two people at every ground ball," she said, later adding that the objective for the Bobcats defense was to collapse around all-star Corrine Wessles, who ended up exiting with two yellow cards.
"Whenever she was crashed on, we had help defense," said Westcott.
Meanwhile on Thursday, part of the Battlefield boys' depth chart took a severe blow as the Bobcats faced a scary moment during the final five minutes of the regional championship game.
Senior attackman Ryan Swingle attempted to make his sixth goal of the game as he stood in front of a scrum of players gathering in front of the Broad Run goal line.
His right-handed, sidearm sling instead collided with sophomore Anthony Fraga at the base of his neck, according to head coach Kevin Marsh and a Battlefield attendant.
The midfielder dropped to the ground about five yards to the top right side of the goal crease and play halted on the field.
An ambulance marked "515" on the side from the Evergreen Volunteer Fire and Rescue station arrived at 9:20 p.m., entering the stadium from a gate on the north side, then trekking south along the track encompassing the perimeter of the field.
Eventually, those surrounding Fraga, including trainers and his parents, could be seen chuckling, indicating that Fraga was "fine," as Marsh told his players.
"He was talking to me, he was moving his arms and his legs," said Swingle, the only Bobcat to stand near Fraga after the emergency personnel arrived.
Marsh explained in an interview that Fraga told him he remembered being hit but did not remember falling to the ground. He had a pain sensation jolt through his body.
Strapped to a gurney on a yellow, collapsible stretcher with black wheels, Fraga's head, upper torso and legs remained clamped down as paramedics rolled him to the back of the ambulance.
While he was being carted off at 9:31 p.m., Fraga lifted his left arm and, with his thumb pointing parallel to his ribs, gave the sign that he would be okay.
No one seemed to respond louder than the ongoing applause, however. Fraga then lowered and raised his arm again, this time clearly showing his left thumb, pointed back toward the eye black streaking down his cheeks instead of running up perpendicular to his body.
His teammates and fans alike hollered loudly at him, though he remained motionless once loaded into the back of the wagon.
Play resumed one minute after his exit from the field. Broad Run's Ryan Cummings would score one more goal on an assist from junior midfielder Will Ervin but that was it.
Ervin ended the day with two goals and two assists, while Cummings, sophomore Steven Dunn, and seniors Max Ganzer and Taylor Rook all earned one goal each. Broad Run senior goalie Joe Cannon collected 13 saves while Battlefield's Phillip Dappen gathered 10 saves.
After the game, the Battlefield boys crowded in front of the south goal net with their trophy and chanted, "Fra-ga! Fra-ga!" while posing for pictures.
While the Bobcats' offensive depth chart is particularly strong even by varsity standards, Fraga stood out during the playoffs as a key alternative to the high-scoring Swingle, who entered Thursday in the top three for most goals in the entire Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Fraga completed a hat trick against North Stafford during the regional quarterfinals on May 17 and sank another shot during the Cedar Run District tournament championship versus Broad Run on April 13, giving him 14 goals for the season.
While Swingle is typically the go-play attackman for shots on goal, Michael Hanlon has netted more than 40 shots this seats and Cameron Maples is at about 25.
Even after them, Hunter Surface, Scott Ratigan and Zach Windsor all have at least 17 goals this year.
On the other end of the field, the Battlefield defense has given up double-digits on the scoreboard just one time all season and still won that game against E.C. Glass 11-10 on April 27.
Yet Marsh wasn't satisfied on Friday.
After defeating Broad Run for the fourth time this season, he explained that Battlefield isn't quite where it should be yet entering states.
"We're not playing state-winning lacrosse right now," he said, vowing to "continue to work to get better" in practice before the Group AAA quarterfinals begin the weekend of May 31 and June 1.
There is one silver line Marsh identified though.
"This team has always responded to challenges," he said.
It's hard to argue with his line of reasoning: at 19-0, Battlefield's record speaks for itself.