After going scoreless over 117 minutes of three state championship games against Western Albemarle, the Brentsville Tigers finally found the goal Saturday during the Class 3 girls soccer final.
So they left Salem with at least some solace after finishing as the state runner-up for a third consecutive season with a 3-1 loss to the Warriors on the rainy and gloomy day at Salem High.
Western Albemarle beat the Tigers 3-0 last season and 2-0 in 2017 before taking a 3-0 lead again Saturday. The Warriors limited Brentsville’s offensive chances most of the match, but Region 3B Player of the Year Catharine Forst eventually scored with 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the second half.
The Warriors fouled a player in the Tigers’ offensive third, giving them a free kick from about 35 yards out. Forst rocketed an almost perfect shot from that spot and the ball found its way past Western Albemarle goal keeper Bailey Wood.
“Finally scored against our biggest rival,” said Forst, a Longwood University recruit who finished her senior season with 33 goals, topping the 32 she had as a junior.
“It also was a great way to end my high school career, and just celebrating with my teammates for the last time meant so much to me,” she said. “This team has supported me for the last four years and has become my family forever.”
Brentsville entered the match on a 10-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 35-2 over that stretch, but the Tigers struggled against the five-time state champion Warriors. In 2018, Western Albemarle ended the undefeated Tigers’ 18-game winning streak after ending Brentsville’s 10-game winning streak in 2017.
“For the past three years, I have noticed the great support system their coaching staff has for their players that leads to their success,” Forst said. “The communication they have is amazing and it really leads to stopping an opponent.”
So the careers of Forst and eight other seniors ended without a state championship, but they still helped Brentsville amass a 67-11-6 record (83.3 winning percentage) over four seasons with a 16-3-2 mark this season.
The Tigers will also have talented players return in 2020, including sophomore goalkeeper Emily Cipolla, who had 13 saves. Freshmen Madison Fitzpatrick, Carly O’Leary and Hannah Case also each started in state final. Fitzpatrick, in fact, finished this season with 19 goals.
“Madison has been a big time asset,” Forst said. “I am extremely proud of her and how she holds herself when playing against older girls, and how composed on the ball she is.”