Twice this week, the King George girls’ soccer team has found itself saturated with emotion. Following Monday’s victory over Chancellor in the Battlefield District championship game, two Foxes players surreptitiously lugged a water cooler to midfield before dousing head coach Rod Shriver in celebration.
By contrast, in the aftermath of King George’s 2–1 loss to Matoaca on Thursday in the Region 4B quarterfinals, there were precious few dry eyes to be found in the Foxes’ huddle.
Somewhere in between those deluges is the simple fact that this King George team won more matches (12) than its five immediate predecessors — combined.
“That’s saying something,” Shriver consoled his players, including six seniors that had been playing soccer for him since their seventh grade year at King George Middle.
The visiting Warriors (13–4) signaled their intent to spoil the Foxes’ best season to date from the opening whistle.
People are also reading…
Matoaca burned King George off a quick counterattack to seize a 1–0 lead in the 18th minute, with freshman Rosie Cosgrove running under a long ball and beating the goalkeeper left. She took a different tack a few minutes later, doubling the Warriors’ advantage with a slow-rolling, left-to-right shot.
Matoaca head coach Billy Rudd noted that the Foxes succeeding in shutting down seniors Abbey Follis and Allyson Booth, both of whom have eclipsed 20 goals on the season.
With her teammates amply marked, Cosgrove “really stepped up to the plate,” Rudd said.
Reyna Cusworth headed one home off a corner to pull King George within a goal just before halftime, and the Foxes spent the better part of the second 40 minutes straining for an equalizer. Their best chance fell by the wayside when Matoaca goalkeeper Kiera Ferguson turned away two point-blank shots before a third attempt trickled wide left.
“I think we might have tried too hard,” Shriver said of the push to tie.
Matoaca advances to a Region 4B semifinal on Tuesday night, facing the winner of Mechanicsville and Hanover.
Before his players broke down their postgame huddle, Shriver, a former Marine, issued one final order.
“Walk off the field with your heads held up,” he said. “Is that understood, ladies?”