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Take Five - This is your final free article during this 30 day period.Stay in touch with all of the news from Winchester, Frederick and Clarke. Sign up today for complete digital access to The Winchester Star.

Take Five - This is your final free article during this 30 day period.Stay in touch with all of the news from Winchester, Frederick and Clarke. Sign up today for complete digital access to The Winchester Star.

Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.

Handley’s Emma Ricci (left) fights for control of the ball against Woodgrove defender Sophia Cruz in Tuesday’s Region 4C semifinal game at James R. Wilkins Jr. Stadium. Nothing came easy for the Judges, who fell 6-2. Handley achieved a school record for victories this year and finished 15-4.



Handley freshman Taylor Roark gestures after passing the ball backward in Tuesday’s Region 4C semifinal game. Woodgrove’s Sophia Cruz defends on the play.

Handley's Jordan Lill passes the ball toward the sideline as Woodgrove's Chelsea Dougherty defends in Friday's Region 4C semifinal at Handley. 

Handley’s Emma Ricci (left) fights for control of the ball against Woodgrove defender Sophia Cruz in Tuesday’s Region 4C semifinal game at James R. Wilkins Jr. Stadium. Nothing came easy for the Judges, who fell 6-2. Handley achieved a school record for victories this year and finished 15-4.

Handley freshman Taylor Roark gestures after passing the ball backward in Tuesday’s Region 4C semifinal game. Woodgrove’s Sophia Cruz defends on the play.

Handley's Jordan Lill passes the ball toward the sideline as Woodgrove's Chelsea Dougherty defends in Friday's Region 4C semifinal at Handley. 

WINCHESTER — The Woodgrove girls' soccer program is on a mission to win its first state championship since 2013, and the Wolverines certainly played with a purpose on Tuesday.

The Dulles District tournament champions scored three times in the first 14 minutes and went on to defeat Class 4 Northwestern District champion Handley 6-2 on Tuesday at James R. Wilkins Jr. Stadium.

Handley junior forward Kendall Felix scored in the 11th minute on a shot from 20 yards out to cut the Judges' deficit to 2-1 in the 11th minute. But Woodgrove's Cora McQuad answered with a goal three minutes later off a corner kick, and the Judges could get no closer. Woodgrove (16-1-3) led 4-1 at halftime and expanded its lead to 5-1 before Handley scored again.

The Wolverines clinched a berth in the state tournament and also a matchup with defending state champion Loudoun County on Thursday in the region final. The Raiders, who lost to Woodgrove in the Dulles tournament final, beat James Wood 2-0 on Tuesday in the other semifinal.

Katie Oliver had two goals, Elizabeth Marcheschi had one goal and two assists and Chelsea Dougherty had three assists to lead the Woodgrove effort. 

"Our goal is to win states, and this puts us on a path toward reaching that," said Woodgrove coach Pat Manno, whose team lost in the state quarterfinals last year. "That's really what it's about. Just trying to work through one game at a time and look for the prize at the end."

"We knew ahead of time we were going to have a good game in front of us," Miller said. "When you play someone like Woodgrove that has that kind of, not just individual skill but plays well as a team, you've got to come prepared mentally, physically, as a team.

The Judges were no by means sluggish at the start — Handley took two of the first three shots. But in the third minute, Woodgrove put tremendous pressure on the Handley goal, with Sally Sydnor (five saves) making an impressive stop from close range. The rebound shot went off the top of the crossbar and over.

It was a long-range pass that helped put Woodgrove on the board. Marcheschi sent a ball from the left side about 25 yards behind the midfielder stripe ahead to junior forward Dalani Stephens. Sydnor came off her line to challenge, but Stephens simply knocked the ball over her head and saw the ball bounce into the net in the seventh minute.

After Oliver curled a high shot from the right side from 27 yards out over Sydnor's head to make it 2-0, Kendall Felix answered to spark the Judges. The lead was short-lived though, as Handley was unable to clear Dougherty's corner kick that bounced around in the box in the 14th minute. McQuaid chipped the ball in from 12 yards out to make it 3-1.

"We've always been one of the faster teams, so playing somebody who could match us for speed, gives us kind of a run for our money we're not necessarily used to," Miller said.

"I thought [Felix's goal] picked up our spirits," said Handley junior forward Emma Ricci. "We had opportunities, but we just couldn't finish them."

The Judges wound up taking five shots to Woodgrove's eight in the first half. One of Handley's four shots in the second half (Woodgrove had seven) came when Taylor Roark assisted fellow freshman Mikayla Balio for a goal to make it 5-2 in the 48th minute.

"I think we prepared well and we left it all out on the field, and I think's that all that matters," Ricci said. "Regardless of the score, we all played as hard as we could."

Though Handley was understandably disappointed by the loss, Ricci and Miller said it was definitely a season to remember. Handley swept the Class 4 Northwestern District regular season and tournament crowns and set a school record for victories.

"All around, we had a really solid season," Ricci said. "When we faced adversity, we definitely pulled through and came together as a team."

"They've done a lot as a team and with the individual goals they set," Miller said. "Lots of really good things this season. Ending a season on a loss never feels good, but there's a lot to be proud of."

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